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by Sofia Villegas
15 December 2023
Scottish island introduces new technology to manage anticipated tourism boom

The island of Lewis is the largest island of the Western Isles | Alamy

Scottish island introduces new technology to manage anticipated tourism boom

A Scottish island has deployed Internet of Things (IoT) technology to help locals manage tourism. 

The pilot system will help the Isle of Lewis face the anticipated growth in cruise tourism next year. 

Installed at the Calanais Stones, which attract more than 130,000 visitors per year, the inter-connected monitoring sensors will allow for a better understanding of patterns in visitor numbers. 

The Calanais team will access live data via an app, allowing them to predict and accommodate busier periods by ensuring “staffing, stock and opening hours” are appropriate, Ally Longmuir, business development manager at CENSIS, said. 

He said:  “This technology can provide accurate real-time data that will undoubtedly support the booming tourism industry in the islands, and we’ve seen success from similar initiatives in the past involving sites on the West Highland Way. 

“We hope to expand the initiative to cover additional sites that will paint a more detailed picture of how visitors are interacting with the island's key heritage sites.” 

Visitor numbers are expected to grow following the launch of a new water terminal in Stornoway. Expected to be operational next year, the terminal will be able to host ships of up to 360m in length, meaning it could accommodate most cruise fleets from across the world. 

Other partners in the project are the Highlands and Islands Enterprise area team on Lewis, the HIE Innovation team and the Outer Hebrides Cruise Forum. 

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