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Fife features in new virtual visitor experience

Wed 1 Mar 17

The launch of a new virtual reality app from VisitScotland means that people across the globe can now visit the Forth Bridges and Falkland Palace and Garden to inspire them to come and experience their beauty for real and enjoy a first-hand experience of the region's famous attractions. Both are featured in the innovative new ScotlandVR tourism app which enables prospective visitors to go on a virtual visit to 26 top attractions.

They may also choose, for example, to stroll around the prehistoric village of Skara Brae in Orkney, soar like a bird over Edinburgh Castle, journey into the depths of Ben Cruachan, the Hollow Mountain, or stand under the Northern Lights. ScotlandVR is a ground-breaking virtual travel experience that allows people, wherever they are in the world, to be immersed in Scotland's remarkable attractions.

Launched yesterday (February 28), the ScotlandVR app, which is available for all Android and Apple users to download for free on Google Play and Apple Store, will – it is hoped – inspire more people to escape from their surroundings to discover Scotland in person. Featuring state-of-the art 360˚ imagery and footage, the journey begins in a virtual glen complete with moo-ing Highland Cow, crackling fire and bellowing stag. From there, users can jump into a map of Scotland and experience 26 unique attractions covering every region of the country.

The whole environment can be experienced in Stereoscopic 3D when used with a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset, or in 360˚ view using gyroscope technology in phone mode. The ScotlandVR app is a result of the collaborative effort and pioneering spirit of Scottish academic, technology and tourism sectors. During the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, VisitScotland challenged young talent from Scotland's academia to create an exciting, interactive digital product designed to inspire and motivate people to visit Scotland.

The winners of the competition were a team from Edinburgh Napier University, led by Professor David Benyon and Dr Oli Mival, which developed the concept for an innovative app in which to explore a virtual Scotland. The final ScotlandVR app was created by Edinburgh-based digital and creative agency, Whitespace in association with VisitScotland and Edinburgh Napier University. The app launches with 26 attractions, but future phases of the software will see further attractions added through refreshed content. The landmark locations for launch were chosen from set criteria including footfall, product diversity, online searches and links to the current 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: "This virtual reality app provides people across the globe with a window into Scotland's fantastic attractions. They will experience 26 unique attractions covering every region of the country. It will, I hope, inspire more people to discover Scotland for real."

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland regional director, said: "I am delighted that Fife is featured in VisitScotland's exciting first venture into the world of virtual reality. Falkland Palace and Garden is an outstanding Scottish attraction while the Forth Bridges are iconic landmarks - I hope that a virtual visit will encourage more people to come to see both in person and explore the region further. "VR is revolutionising the way people choose the destinations they might visit by allowing them to 'try before they buy' and learn more about the country in a unique and interactive way. "Once people get a taste for the spirit of Scotland or #ScotSpirit through ScotlandVR, we expect they will be booking a holiday to enjoy a first-hand experience of our stunning landscapes and attractions."

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