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Launch coincides with Year of Young People
In the Year of Young People, primary and secondary school kids and students have been at the forefront of developing content for an exciting new tourism phone app to help visitors explore the hidden treasures of the A9.
Over 100 school children from Pitlochry High School choir recorded traditional Scottish songs. In addition, Napier University students and graduate engineers from the three consultancies and joint ventures designing the A9 Dualling programme were involved in producing the content for the app.
The Highland Discovery app, which is being introduced as a result of the A9 Dualling programme, provides information on small, community facilities and businesses along the A9 and also includes an in-car audio channel offering Scottish stories and songs.
The app goes live today on both Android and Iphones having already been trialled last year in Beta mode when it was downloaded 500 times and nearly 20% of users came from overseas.
Speaking at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh where he met two of the storytellers featured on the app and young people who helped develop the content for it, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:
“The work to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness is progressing at pace with draft Orders now published for six of the eleven projects with more to come this year. Later this year work will start on the next section to be dualled between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam. We remain on target to complete this ambitious programme by 2025.
“However, the A9 Dualling programme is about more than building a road. We also want to take the opportunity to improve the visitor experience for people travelling along the A9. This exciting new Highland Discovery app will help anyone visiting the area explore some of the hidden treasures that are on or near this iconic road and get a glimpse into the local culture of Scotland with stories and music.
“When the app was piloted last year it was downloaded 500 times, twenty per cent of these were from people overseas. An encouraging start and now that it is available to both Android and Iphone users I expect the uptake to increase.
“It is fitting that in this Year of Young People, local school children and students working on the dualling programme have played such an important role in developing the content for this app for visitors travelling on this route which links the central belt with the Highlands and Islands.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, added:
“The A9 is much more than just a road. It connects visitors to some of the best tourism experiences in Scotland, taking them through the heart of Perthshire and up to the Highlands. Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on innovation and considering new and creative ways to reach out to visitors, showcasing all we have to offer.
“The Highland Discovery app is an excellent example of that, highlighting the hidden gems and renowned attractions that lie just off the A9 corridor. It’s also fitting that the visitors of tomorrow - our young people - have helped develop the content. The Year of Young People is all about celebrating the talents and contributions of Scotland’s young people and creating new opportunities for them to shine.”
The Highland Discovery tourism app, downloadable on ios or android formats, is the outcome of developing technology to help all of Scotland’s rural communities to maximise the economic potential of tourism, no matter how remote they are.
The app creates an in-car audio experience, which allows tourists to make connections with the passing landscape, history and culture of Scotland.