Scottish Tourism receives hi-tech boost to help smooth road to recovery
Traveltech for Scotland, a new organisation to help Scotland’s tourism sector make a sustained recovery, launches this week.
Driven by technological innovation, it will build a support network for travel technology pioneers whose ingenuity could help turn the sector around following the devastating impacts of Covid-19.
The venture will create opportunities for businesses, including digital tour operators, online booking providers and companies developing robotic devices that improve the hotel experience.
Traveltech for Scotland will foster an online community of entrepreneurs, promote industry events and create a digital marketplace to encourage growth in the sector.
The £342,000 initiative – led by the University of Edinburgh and funded via the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise – will tap into Scotland’s research excellence and seek to nurture the country’s tech graduate talent.
EFI to host
Traveltech for Scotland will be based in the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Institute will support the team and delivery.
EFI Director, Professor Lesley McAra said:
“EFI is delighted to be hosting the Traveltech for Scotland cluster. The aims of the cluster align with our collaborative approach to working with Scotland’s technology and tourism businesses to support inclusive economic growth across Scotland. We hope that the cluster will play its part in helping communities, businesses and citizens recover and regenerate as we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The newly appointed Director of Traveltech for Scotland, Joshua Ryan-Saha, believes it is in moments of great crisis that new ideas are born.
He said: “The travel industry faces unprecedented challenges and we need to invest now in Traveltech to build a better, more resilient and sustainable future for Scotland’s travel industry.”
The University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations, helped deliver the successful bid for funding.
Recovery and building back
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, said: “The tourism and hospitality sector has been hit hard by this pandemic and we do not underestimate the crisis this has created.
“Protecting jobs and businesses is a key focus of the Scottish Government’s efforts to respond to the pandemic.
“As we start to see more and more of the sector re-opening, the launch of Traveltech for Scotland will support the sector further in its road to recovery. I welcome this innovative approach and look forward to seeing how the community is strengthened as a result.”
The Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, Steve Dunlop, is confident Traveltech can support economic recovery in communities that rely on tourism and help the sector to ‘build back better’ by developing sustainability and resilience.
Key sector collaboration
COVID-19 has impacted heavily on the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, forcing redundancies and reduced operations for airlines, hotels, bars, restaurants and tech businesses, and leading to the cancellation of Scotland’s major events and festivals in 2020.
In 2018 Scotland’s tech industry was valued at £4.9 billion, with over 100,000 people employed in the sector. Demand for tech recruits continues to grow rapidly: it is estimated that Scotland needs around 13,000 new people to work in tech every year.
Collaboration and synergy between these two critical sectors is key to a sustainable recovery for Scotland and aligned with EFI’s goal of supporting inclusive growth.
Find out more or get in touch with the Traveltech for Scotland team here: https://efi.ed.ac.uk/traveltech-scotland/