Stirling opts for some smart thinking

Visitors to Stirling are set to benefit from digital and interactive technology which will enhance the experience for both tourists and residents.
Attracting 250,000 more visitors per annum and positioning Stirling as an “economic and cultural powerhouse” is at the heart of Stirling’s ambitious City Region Deal.
In order to drive this ambition, Stirling’s new tourism and events strategy will set out a clear direction for building Stirling’s international profile as a successful tourist and events destination, and will play a vital role in contributing to the growth of the city over the next 10 years.
Digital innovation plays a central role in developing fantastic tourism products in Stirling for UK and international markets.
As a result, interactive smart screens are being installed right across the Stirling area, providing a powerful way of engaging with tourists and residents, improving their experience with real-time information about attractions, providing discounts at local hotspots, making suggestions about their travel plans and providing opportunities for businesses in the Stirling area to advertise.
The zmart zcreens are also designed to deliver “access for all” by offering information in a variety of languages and supporting people with disabilities, a feature will be available from the end of October.
At present the smart screens are located in Mar Place and Friars Street, and once fully deployed in key locations throughout the city and rural areas, the smart screens will provide a wide ranging communications network.
The smart screens are already proving to be popular with visitors to Stirling.

Holly Jebb and Harriet Weedman, visitors to Stirling from Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia

Holly Jebb and Harriet Weedman, from Australia, said: “The digital interactive visitor screen really helped us find our way around beautiful Stirling, allowing us to find some gorgeous places we wouldn’t have known about. It also helped us find a great place for lunch.”
Stirling’s focus on digital and interactive technology, to encourage both tourists and residents to explore not only Stirling, but Scotland as a whole, will continue with the development of an ‘Explore Stirling’ app.
The app will highlight the abundance of walking and cycling routes in Stirling and the surrounding rural area, to encourage residents and tourists to get out there and see them first hand.
The app will also feature audio to provide descriptions of key attractions, and provide an opportunity for local businesses to promote themselves by being listed for free on the app.
Stirling has prioritised the creation of key heritage developments, including the £8.9 million construction of the Engine Shed.
This restoration project transformed a disused shed in the Forthside area of the city into Scotland’s Centre for Building Conservation, and is home to Historic Scotland’s digital documentation team. The Engine Shed has attracted over 6,000 visitors since opening in July 2017.
Councillor Margaret Brisley, convener of the finance and cconomy committee at Stirling Council said:
“As one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular destinations, Stirling is recognised as a dynamic city in which to live, work, study, invest, and visit, and is already delivering on its ambition to be an “economic and cultural powerhouse.
“Tourism is a key driver of economic success in Stirling supporting 3,841 jobs in 2016 and generating nearly £218 million in Economic impact.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience; it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.”