Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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Up to £200,000 on offer for technology/tourism partnerships to develop industry exemplars.

Building an incredible visitor experience will be essential to Northern Ireland’s success as a world-class tourism destination.

Augmented Reality (AR) has an innovative part to play in this ambition, as it begins to enhance real-world experiences and help make the visitor’s journey more interactive, meaningful and seamless.

In tourism, AR has the power to help visitors with smartphones and other digital devices navigate the destination in any language. It can plug the ‘expectation gap’ at sites of historic or cultural importance, by creating or recreating life via a digital layer over the physical environment. AR can also engage new audiences at tourist attractions via gamification, education and entertainment.

The challenge

Tourism NI is investing up to £200,000 to encourage tourism-focussed innovation in Augmented Reality. We are looking for proposals from technology and tourism stakeholders with innovative digital ideas to develop the use of AR.

As with all Tourism NI initiatives, we are seeking solutions that will encourage our visitors to find and encounter new experiences while encouraging them to extend the length of their visits and, importantly, spend more while they are here.


Tourism NI, working in conjunction with our partners Digital Catapult NI and the Department for the Economy, are looking for innovative AR solutions that meet one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Animation of the visitor experience
  2. Enhancement of interpretation and storytelling
  3. Improved visitor management solutions: encouraging visitors to explore beyond traditional honey pots to alleviate existing capacity issues
  4. Increased regional spread: by fostering connections with other places and stories within Northern Ireland
  5. Way-finding: helping people of all abilities and language requirements to seamlessly find their way around and between tourist attractions.

Solutions should consider:

  • Multilingual provision
  • A method of tracking visitor footfall
  • Technology that is low-cost, robust and reliable
  • How to deliver information in a timely and relevant manner, regardless of location, connectivity and power conditions
  • How to encourage visitors to explore the environment around a tourist attraction, notifying them of items of interest, events or other tourist amenities in the area
  • Public sector bidders should consider the supply chain/procurement procedures.

Who can apply?

To apply you must propose a solution that:

  • responds to one or more of the objectives
  • is creatively, technically or commercially innovative
  • has wider tourism marketplace potential beyond the challenge consortium
  • considers the supporting operating and commercial models

You do need to have a specific product, platform or service in mind, even if it is only at idea stage.

How will the challenge work?

This contest is a two-stage process.

Stage 1
Completion of an application form to present your idea. We will then select up to 8 solutions to go through to the next stage.

Applicants can apply from 18 October 2018.

Stage 2
Live pitch and Q&A to an expert assessment panel on 27 November 2018 who will make the final decision on which solutions to fund.

Key dates

18 October 2018 - Contest opens

19 November 2018(noon) - Submission deadline

23 November 2018 - Shortlisted companies notified

27 November 2018 - Live pitch and panel Q&A

3 December 2018 - Winners notified

Dec 2018 to March 2019 - Development and trial window

April 2019 (date TBC) - Presentation of completed solution

Next steps

  1. Bidders are strongly advised to read the SBRI Guidance
  2. Complete the SBRI Application Form and email to by noon on 19 November 2018
  3. Invitation to apply should be read in conjunction with these documents.

If you have any questions, need help applying or are looking for partners to work on your project with, email the Tourism NI digital team -