A “ground-breaking” app that invites the world to step into Scotland has been created as part of a global marketing campaign.
The augmented reality (AR) app gives users across the globe the chance to experience the country’s rich landscapes and attractions through their mobile phones.
VisitScotland, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Universities Scotland were involved in the app, which is available on Google Playstore and iOS platforms from Wednesday.
Tourism bosses say Scotland is the first country to develop an app of this kind as part of the Scotland is Now campaign.
Eva Kwiecinska, senior marketing manager content at VisitScotland, said: “It is incredibly exciting to launch our first venture into the world of augmented reality and to be the first country to create an app of this kind.
“AR is an innovative way to let people from anywhere in the world experience Scotland from the palm of their hands and learn more about the country in a unique and interactive way.”
They can use it to “virtually visit Scotland”, ride the North Coast 500 on a motorbike or discover the food and drink culture through the heritage of whisky distilleries.
The app was made by Edinburgh-based creative marketing agency Whitespace in collaboration with the Scotland Is Now team over 10 weeks.
Google approached Whitespace and VisitScotland after spotting a portal technique demo on Twitter.
More than 100 million devices can currently download the app and Google is extending the number of devices that support AR apps.
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Portal AR app is a real innovation and will help promote the message at the heart of Scotland Is Now to a worldwide audience.
“We want to put Scotland at the top of everyone’s list of places to live, work, visit, invest and study.
“Our country is recognised globally for its heritage, breath-taking scenery and warm welcome. But Scotland is so much more: a modern, pioneering, dynamic and progressive nation.”
Morag Malloy, marketing manager Scottish Enterprise, said: “This new augmented reality app will allow people from around the world to experience Scotland virtually through their own personal handheld mobile device and will showcase what Scotland has to offer as a leading place to visit, work, live, study and invest.”
Professor Andrea Nolan, convener of Universities Scotland and principal of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Scotland is a visually stunning country and that’s what users will get a sense of through the Scotland is Now AR app.
“We know it’s one of the many reasons why students and staff from throughout the world want to come and study and build their lives here.”