A new digital audio tour, downloadable from the Geotourist app to a user’s smartphone, will help visitors discover how to spend their money positively in Edinburgh while exploring the city.
The tour introduces visitors to some of the city’s social enterprises as they take in the sights and learn about Edinburgh’s lesser-known tales. The tour has been curated by Invisible Cities, the social enterprise that trains homeless people to be tour guides, and has been produced in partnership with Edinburgh Social Enterprise and Geotourist, the mobile platform and app for the world’s audio stories.
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.
“5,600 social enterprises in Edinburgh… contribute £2 billion to the economy”
The tour takes people on a journey that features five 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.
Moulaoui added: “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.
“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 combatting homelessness with a 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 – a coworking and incubating space
- Homeless World Cup – a soccer tournament aiming to beat homelessness
- The Grassmarket Community Project – supporting vulnerable adults and homeless people, operates a café and 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 six continents and was cited as “the future of travel tech” within a Visit Britain Future Trends report.
“Geotourist’s reason for being is to tell the human story”
CEO and Geotourist founder, Shaon Talukder, 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.”
“A fantastic asset to tourism in Edinburgh”
Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, concluded: “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.”
Further collaborations between Invisible Cities are planned to support its growth in cities such as Glasgow, Manchester and York.