Tourism, Travel
& Festivals

We support people and organisations to be adaptive, innovative, and futures-focused.

Free online SHort course: DATA Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation

Taught by leading experts in data science, AI, information law, science and technology studies, and responsible research and innovation

Co-create futures

Shape thinking

Develop Knowledge

Nurture talent

Make change

We use design and futures thinking approaches, underpinned by data-driven innovation, to co-create meaningful solutions to complex challenges in tourism, travel, and festivals.

From international travel technology companies and Edinburgh’s world-renowned festivals to early-stage eco-tourism startups, we are helping the sector to find ways to: collaborate locally and globally; share and optimise data and new technologies to innovate and enhance business models, services, and experiences; and achieve more sustainable choices and better outcomes for organisations, tourist customers, communities, and places.

Our collaboration opportunities are designed to bring academic and industry expertise together to develop innovation capacity and create solutions for the tourism, travel, and festivals sector.

Get involved with:

Co-creation and design thinking workshops

Education, training and development

Futures-focused facilitation and consultancy

Sector-focused events and networking

Research and innovation projects

Student challenge projects

Long-term strategic partnerships

Shaping the future through world-leading research innovation and knowledge creation.

We work with the world’s top researchers, developing deep expertise in areas critical to a rapidly transforming and multidimensional sector grappling with key challenges like achieving NetZero carbon emissions, improving workforce conditions, and embracing the use of emerging data-driven technologies.

Get inside the minds of some of the leading thinkers navigating routes to better futures at Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Latest thinking

Building future skills and knowledge for tourism, travel, and festivals.

We are helping address complex challenges and emerging issues in this multidimensional industry, such as growing skills shortages, uneven and unequal digitisation, new technologies and AI, funding and investment challenges, diversity and global competitiveness, and more.

Our range of postgraduate study is designed to build and share knowledge across sectors and disciplines. We also offer custom executive education to meet specific needs for teams and organisations.

We offer flexible degree programmes which support the needs and challenges of professionals and leaders in the tourism and festivals sectors.

MSc / PG Dip / PG Cert

Executive education

Our executive education and professional development courses are designed to challenge, inspire, and transform your thinking.

Investing in the next generation to help tackle the complexities of our future world.

The future workplace is interdisciplinary, multi-modal, and challenge-led. Our students graduate with core data skills, knowledge of data ethics, the ability to interrogate issues of global scope and complexity, and with the creative and entrepreneurial mind-set to problem-solve that is vital for building better futures.

We have lots of exciting opportunities to connect our diverse and talented students with a range of professional and sector-specific experience.

We deliver meaningful change that is helping the tourism, travel, and festivals sector build better futures.

Edinburgh Futures Institute is one of six Data Driven Innovation hubs at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. We are part of a regional power-house for collaboration and data innovation with industry partners.

Our ecosystem is designed to support the tourism, travel, and festivals sector with various aspects of challenge-led, data-driven innovation that delivers economic, social, cultural, environmental, and ethical impact.

Find out about some of our collaborations and projects.

The New Real

Established 2019, The New Real is a unique hub for AI, creativity and futures research. It is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Alan Turing Institute, and Edinburgh’s Festivals.

Traveltech for Scotland

Bringing together a growing community of over 200 traveltech organisations with the tourism and hospitality sector to help Scotland’s economy sustainably recover, rebuild and thrive.

Innovation ecosystem

We offer specialist innovation and co-creation services – delivering new value, outcomes and transformations for people, communities, organisations and society.

Explore more of the innovation ecosystem at Edinburgh Futures Institute:

In focus

In practice

Traveltech Scotland

Traveltech for Scotland Logo

Bringing together a growing community of over 200 traveltech organisations with the tourism and hospitality sector to help Scotland’s economy sustainably recover, rebuild, and thrive.

In practice

Culture and Communities Mapping project

The Culture & Communities Mapping Project researches Edinburgh’s cultural landscapes by asking questions about cultural equity, cultural identity, and the links between geography, sociodemographics, and culture.

In practice

The new real

The New Real is a unique hub for AI, creativity and futures research. It is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Alan Turing Institute, and Edinburgh’s Festivals.



Futures of Travel

illsutration of two people holding lanterns exploring landscape

Our Director of Tourism, Travel and Festivals, Joshua Ryan-Saha, is kicking off a new series of talks with leading figures in the Scottish traveltech industry to explore what the future could look like for the sector.


Difficult Conversations, History of Language, and Planet Citizen at the Book Festival

Edinburgh College of Art building with banners announcing the Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh Futures Institute is delighted to be a Major Sponsor of the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2023.


The New Real Founder Tapped as AI Expert

Camera capturing panel event led by The New Real

The New Real Founder Professor Drew Hemment shared his expert views on the origins and the future of Artificial Intelligence in two features published in The Scotsman and The Herald.

Become a member

New tenancy and membership opportunities coming 2024/25.

We can create better futures

Edinburgh Futures Institute works with tourism organisations and festivals of all shapes and sizes across Scotland, the UK, and globally. We’d love to discuss potential collaborations and opportunities and how we can innovate together.

Meet the lead

Joshua Ryan-Saha

Director of TravelTech Scotland / Sector Engagement Manager (Festivals & Tourism)

Headshot of Joshua Ryan-Saha
Examples of organisations we collaborate with:
Skyscanner Logo
Edinburgh Fringe Logo
Visit Scotland Logo

Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.