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Digital, responsible tourism first unites Edinburgh social enterprise and tourism

New audio tour encourages people to spend their money more positively whilst exploring Edinburgh

Geotourist and Invisible Cities’ new audio tour of Edinburgh will help visitors spend their money more positively while learning about social enterprise in the city. The project is a digital first, promoting responsible tourism, allowing visitors to explore the globally-popular city in a different way., introducing visitors to some of the city’s social enterprises as they take in the iconic sights and tell some of Edinburgh’s lesser-known tales.

Put together by Invisible Cities – the social enterprise that trains people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city – They will be receiving the donations accrued via the ‘Donate Now’ button on the Invisible Cities Geotourist audio tour.

The founder of Invisible Cities, Zakia Moulaoui, said: “The tour is a snapshot of some of the great social enterprise initiatives we have in Edinburgh. It allows people to be inspired by some of the work going on while exploring the city in their own time.”

Starting in the Grassmarket, the tour passes Edinburgh Castle, wanders through Princes Street Gardens, Rose Street and George Street before returning to the Grassmarket. The tour takes people on a journey that features 5 social enterprises and narrates some of the city’s stories along the way.  Using GPS technology, the app pinpoints where users are and triggers content as they pass by points of interest.

Zakia said: “We’d be delighted if further social enterprises came forwards and wanted to become part of the tour.  There are about 5,600 social enterprises in Edinburgh which collectively contribute 2 billion pounds to the economy, employing over 80,000 people full time.”

Zakia continued, “Scotland is one of the best places in the world to start a social enterprise, from funding to peer support. There is a wide network to help and accompany you along the way.”

The tour so far includes the following social enterprises:

  • Social Bite – the sandwich shop supporting homelessness and pay-it-forward scheme
  • Hadeel – a Fairtrade craft shop aiming to provide sustainable income for those in need in Gaza
  • The Melting Pot – Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation – European pioneers in coworking and incubating people with Good Ideas, and accelerating Coworking globally
  • The Homeless World Cup – a soccer tournament in aid of supporting homelessness
  • The Grassmarket Community Project which supports vulnerable adults and homeless people, operates a café and even creates a tartan for those that don’t have one.

The tour is of interest to new and returning visitors to the city as well as local residents and those who work or have an interest in the Social Enterprise industry.  The tour is free, with listeners able to support the work of Invisible Cities through a ‘Donate Now’ button included on the tour. The Geotourist app itself is free to download from the App Store or Google Play.  Visitors are encouraged to visit the social enterprises on the tour and find out more about supporting them via their individual websites.

The Geotourist app is a new publishing space where organisations and individuals can access the technology to reach wider audiences all over the world. Geotourist works with individuals, organisations and brands across 6 continents and is cited as “the future of travel tech” within a Visit Britain Future Trends report.

CEO and Geotourist founder, Shaon Talukder, who created the Geotourist concept said: “We knew that when we first met Zakia that it was a Geotourist objective to promote the wonderful work Invisible Cities is doing.  We are delighted to provide the technology to support this project and help to use the city’s stories to help do social good. Geotourist’s reason for being is to tell the human story and projects like this are a particular privilege to give a home to.”

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “The Invisible Cities trail is a fantastic asset to tourism in Edinburgh and we hope this digital audio tour will inspire visitors to gain an insight into the city’s strong association with social enterprise. Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation, which is celebrated by the Scottish Thistle Awards, and trails such as this will only strengthen our world-class visitor experience.”

Invisible Cities is the regional winner of the Thistle Award for Innovation in Tourism and is proud to support Invisible Cities by combining storytelling and tourism to help promote social good. The tour offers visitors a way to get to understand the city that they are in beyond the traditional tourism message and offers travellers who champion responsible tourism an opportunity to leave a positive imprint that makes a difference to local lives.

Further collaborations between Invisible Cities are planned to support its growth in cities such as Glasgow, Manchester and York.

As well as checking out the Social Enterprise tour, visit Invisible Cities to book one of live tours in Edinburgh with one of their trained tour guides, with subjects spanning:  Uncover Stories of Crime and Punishment; History of the Trainspotting Generation; Explore the Arts in Edinburgh.

 

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