Fifteen inter-disciplinary teams have combined to improve Edinburgh’s expanding tourism sector at the Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge.

They worked over the weekend analysing datasets, conducting market research, coding, and running through pitches prior to outlining their ideas. Participants have been supported by mentors from various organisations such as The Data Lab, Scottish Enterprise, Intechnology Wifi, Edinburgh Council, ETAG (Edinburgh Tourism Action Group), and Skyscanner.

The 72 hour hackathon saw presentations from a range of field experts who addressed how data can be utilised to improve Edinburghs tourism sector.

One was Ian Cumming, who stopped by to share his insight into the use of tech in the travel industry. Ian founded Travel Massive – a platform established in Sydney, aimed at connecting travel insiders such as travel brands, bloggers, and startups in 100+ cities around the world to empower change and growth in travel.

Participants were given the opportunity to take a break from working on their prototype, and head out for a quick walking tour with Invisible (Edinburgh). Invisible Edinburgh partners with national homeless charity CRISIS to offer walking tours led by individuals who have been affected by homelessness or a social disadvantage – offering a unique perspective and additional city knowledge.

The Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge has up to £15,000 in subsequent funding to support the ideas created acting as just one leg of a much longer project.

Aileen Lamb, the Tourism Manager for Scottish Enterprise, explained her hopes for the hackathons: “The big outcome I’m looking for – new people thinking in different ways about some of the challenges and opportunities for our sector […] it’s also just about the kind of innovation that happens when new people look at challenges with a different set of eyes.”

Delivering £1.3 billion of spend and supporting more than 30,000 local jobs, Edinburgh’s tourism industry is one of the most important economic sectors in Scotland.

The Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge is sponsored by Intechnology Wifi and Scottish Enterprise, and in partnership with The Data Lab, Scottish Enterprise, and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group. The primary objective is to foster data-driven innovation between the wider technology community and Edinburgh’s tourism sector.

Product Forge brings together developers, creatives and entrepreneurs to build new products that solve real world problems. It runs hackathons “with a twist”; events develop teams and products that tackle society’s hardest challenges. Participants use design thinking and digital technology to rapidly prototype their ideas, with support from mentors who have real world commercial experience.