New audio tour unites social enterprise and tourism

Geotourist social enterprise tour Edinburgh
Geotourist social enterprise tour Edinburgh

A new digital audio tour from Geotourist, downloadable to smartphones, will help visitors discover how to spend their money positively in Edinburgh whilst exploring the city.

The tour – a digital first – introduces visitors to some of the city’s social enterprises as they take in the iconic sights and tells some of 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 revolutionary mobile platform and app for the world’s 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.”

Staring in the Grassmarket, the tour passes Edinburgh Castle, wanders through Princes Street Gardens, Rose Street and George Street before returning to the starting point. 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.

Social enterprises on the tour include Social Bite – the sandwich shop supporting homelessness and pay-it-forward schemes; 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; Homeless World Cup – a football tournament in aid of supporting homelessness; and The Grassmarket Community Project which supports vulnerable adults and homeless people, operates a cafe and even creates a tartan for those that don’t have one.

Zakia added, “We’d be delighted if further social enterprises came forwad and wanted to become part of the tour. There are about 5,600 social enterprises in Edinburgh which collectively contribute £2 billion to the economy, employing over 80,000 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.”

CEO and founder of Geotourist, 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 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.”

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, Paula Ward said, “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 srong 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.”