Welcome to Smart Village (Scotland)
Scotland's key established tourist destinations such as our major cities, Isle of Skye, castles, museums, art galleries, Kelpies, golf courses and major festivals are extensively marketed and are already recognised major attractions globally.
Itís time for a new unique approach.
A digital tourism orientated organisation working at a rural level inspiring rural development to drive tourism in a digital Scotland.
How many of Scotland's 2,112 rural villages and 273 towns are little gems? needing some aspiration and ambition to realise the positive contribution they could make to tourism, which is so vital to Scotlandís economy.
So many of our rural villages hold history, heritage, cultural, fauna, flora and other natural attractions that the vast majority of tourists never actually see. I have watched on the side of the A84 trunk road North observing 20 to 30 tour buses per hour, packed to the gunnels with tourists, travelling from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Oban, Fort William or beyond. This happens year round. The visitors sit in awe staring out of their steamed up windows looking at our magnificent scenery, our lochs, mountains and rural communities, without knowing what they are missing as they pass us by.
The real Scotland is also important and is massively undersold.
A successful strategy of rural development to drive tourism, which in turn, drives the local "smart community" and contributes to Scotland's digital economy.
Some communities in Scotland are fortunate and at a situation of readiness to move straight to "smart village" development. However, many rural villages are tired and some, slightly run down and desperately needing a boost to a healthier situation. Some rely on tourism as a source of sustaining the local economy.
The rural business community
Small and medium enterprises and sole traders can all be included within the scope of the development strategy, especially where they sit within the identified 52% of connected communities in rural Scotland that have not yet adopted digital working practices.
The "smart village" initiative from Digital Scotland is about using all of the resources available, for some, they look to take advantage of renewable energy sources, contributing to a low carbon economy. Rural villages are part of the bigger picture networking to other communities, towns and cities in a digital Scotland.
We work with such communities helping them to realise their potential and to reach a stage where a step to "smart village" and digital engagement becomes a natural progression.
by Kenny Higgins
"Smart Village Scotland"