Student's app comes out on top in Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge

Erin and team now invited to apply for funding to make idea a reality

Date posted

8 November 2017


Last updated

19 March 2020

An Edinburgh Napier student’s creative app pitch has come out on top in a new event aimed at driving innovation within Edinburgh’s tourism sector.

Alongside her team, Event and Festival Management student Erin Roche came first in the recent challenge weekend stage of the Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge.

Bringing together tourism researchers, industry professionals, data scientists and app developers, the 24-hour hackathon saw 16 groups form and present ideas aimed at solving various issues currently facing the Edinburgh tourism industry.

Erin’s team's solution was an app called ‘True Scot’. The idea proposed the gamification of the Edinburgh holiday experience, incentivising tourists to explore outside the city centre by assigning points to different attractions depending on their popularity and distance from the city centre.

Users can collect points and climb levels – from ‘Wee Scot’ to ‘True Scot’ – and compete with other users on a leader board. Standalone awards can also be won for completing certain activities – such as the Mother’s Ruin Award for successfully completing three gin experiences during a stay in the city.

The idea was praised by the room of industry professionals, with the team now invited to apply for up to £3000 in funding for protyping the idea.

As a result of winning, the US student was also asked to present ‘True Scot’ at the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s Digital Solutions for Tourism Conference at the National Museum of Scotland at the end of October.

Erin said: “The Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge was a uniquel opportunity to work together with leading tourism organisations in Edinburgh and wider Scotland.

“I got the chance to hear directly from industry leaders about the current issues facing Edinburgh tourism and actually create a viable solution. The hackathon itself gave me a way to build an innovative product with others in the tech and data science industries and valuably network towards my goals of integrating myself into the tourism community.

“The challenge was probably the most valuable professional endeavour I’ve experienced in years.”

Erin and her winning team

Dr Louise Todd, Programme Leader, MSc International Event and Festival Management said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear of Erin’s success and wish her  much deserved congratulations.

“As a subject team, we work very hard to ensure all of our postgraduate and undergraduate students are made aware of any forthcoming opportunities in Edinburgh’s tourism and festivals and events sectors, so it was great to hear that Erin had got involved in the challenge and had taken up this chance to work with researchers and key members of industry. It was fantastic to then hear that she had won!

“We aim to deliver a student experience which is informed by academic research, as well as current issues and innovations in the international tourism and festival and events industry. It is therefore fantastic to see tangible evidence of the strength, currency, and industry-focus of our Programmes, which is clearly seen in Erin’s innovative work, as one of our MSc students.”

Sponsored by organisations including Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, Scottish Enterprise and the Data Lab, The Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge is a series of events that aims to foster data-driven innovation in Edinburgh tourism sector.

Winning ideas that are successfully developed throughout the following year will be showcased at DataFest18 to an audience of tourism and technology experts.

More information can be found here.

Study Event & Festival Management at Edinburgh Napier