Virtual reality ‘bucket list’ videos get international launch, inspiring boating visits to Scotland

Fri 24 Jan 20

Sail Scotland has unveiled a series of 360 degree virtual reality videos this week, at Europe’s largest boat show, to encourage visitors to discover Scotland by boat.

The marketing body for Scottish marine tourism launched the videos on Saturday, giving the 250,000 visitors to the Dusseldorf Boat Show the opportunity for an immersive, on the water experience of some of Scotland’s extraordinary islands, coastal destinations and canals. The boat show is an international industry highlight, providing a high-profile platform for the launch of the innovative videos.

Visitors are invited to explore eight inspiring must-visit locations through the 360 degree videos. These each give a taste of Scotland’s unique coastlines and islands, culture, heritage and wildlife. The virtual reality (VR) series spearheads Sail Scotland’s #MustSeaScotland campaign, created in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, Diageo and CalMac, and supported by VisitScotland.

A virtual visitor might find themselves on approach to St Kilda, as the islands tower out of the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They will discover the stories of the ancient landscape and the resilient people who made a home here, and marvel at the hundreds of thousands of seabirds clamouring high above on sea stacks and cliffs.

Another virtual journey reveals the Isle of Islay, a gateway to the Western Isles cruising grounds. Visitors can take in the sweeping bays and spectacular views, before glimpsing behind the scenes at one of Islay’s renowned whisky distilleries and joining sea kayakers to explore the dramatic coastline.

Mingulay, Canna, Oban, Skye and Inverness, the Moray Firth and Highland canals also all feature in the series of high tech videos. In addition to inspiring sailors to Scotland’s waters, the videos are designed to encourage other visitors to explore by boat, as well as to discover Scotland’s coastal towns and attractions. In the virtual visit to Staffa, holidaymakers step aboard a trip boat to explore the island’s surreal volcanic rock columns and the magic of Fingal’s Cave, while the virtual voyage to Islay is aboard a CalMac ferry. Video visitors to the picturesque seaside town of Oban discover highlights including Oban Distillery, McCaig’s Tower and Dunstaffnage Castle.

Each 360 degree video also has an accompanying ‘behind the scenes’ video. These reveal a fascinating glimpse into the making of the virtual reality videos, which were created for Sail Scotland by Airborne Lens using the latest film techniques and state-of-the-art camera technologies.

Sail Scotland works year-round to encourage visitors to the unique destinations and experiences Scotland offers. The #MustSeaScotland digital campaign aims to generate £1m for Scotland’s economy through visits by boat. The videos can be viewed on mobile phones and on computers, as well as through VR headsets, making them easily accessible. Once video users’ attention is caught by their virtual reality experience, they can link to opportunities to find out more, plan their visit and make bookings.

The #MustSeaScotland campaign supports the National Marine Tourism Strategy and Tourism Scotland 2020 and offers a fitting introduction to Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. This themed year is designed to inspire visitors and locals to explore and experience our unique shores.

Alan Rankin, Chief Executive of Sail Scotland, said: “Having visited many of the stunning locations featured in the videos, I believe the 360 VR format is the next best thing to getting out there. The videos have a true ‘wow’ factor and I would encourage everyone to experience them for themselves.

“Sail Scotland works hard with our members and partners to promote our wonderful sailing and boating waters, and to encourage visitors to our extraordinary coastal landscapes. Being at the largest consumer show of its kind in Europe with such innovative material is a great start to the year.”

Gavin McDonagh, Chair of Sail Scotland, added: “We’re delighted to showcase our multi-media #MustSeaScotland campaign and state-of-the-art virtual reality videos at Europe’s biggest customer-facing boat show. This is also a great example of how Sail Scotland promotes Scotland and the marine tourism industry.”

David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “The VisitScotland Growth Fund award is about encouraging collaboration within Scotland’s tourism industry to develop innovative marketing campaigns which will grow the visitor economy. It’s therefore great to see this campaign, which is led by Sail Scotland, partnered with National Trust for Scotland, Diageo and CalMac, launch these immersive films. They give a superb virtual taste of some of the country’s best coastal locations and will hopefully encourage visitors to come to Scotland to experience our coasts and waters for real.”

The #MustSeaScotland virtual reality video series, including behind the scenes videos, can be viewed online on Sail Scotland’s YouTube channel, at www.youtube.com/user/sailscotland.

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