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Tourism Augmented Reality Challenge

Tourism NI Competition

Posted by Tourism NI

Published October 24, 2017

Up to £70,000 on offer for technology / tourism partnerships to develop industry exemplars

Tourism Augmented Reality Challenge

Augmented reality (AR) technology offers ways to plan and consume visitor experiences much more seamless, interactive, and simple. This technology makes it possible to layer digital enhancements over an existing reality or real life scenario. For tourism, this could mean that booking your hotel, accessing information while you’re there, navigating around your destination, translating written or spoken signs or conversations, and locating dining and entertainment options can all be done simply through an app on mobile devices.

AR technology can also change how visitors can find and experience local attractions, culture and entertainment. Using apps powered by AR, visitors could not only research and navigate to the places they wish to visit, but experience them in a much more meaningful way with digital overlays containing interactive information about the culture or history of the site.

Tourism NI, working with our partners in the Department for Communities, Digital Catapult NI and Matrix are investing up to £70,000 to encourage tourism focussed innovation in Augmented Reality.  We are seeking to promote and test in market the deployment of AR technology in tourism contexts that may include:

  • Enriching the tourist experience for visitors whose first language is not English which include multilingual signposting and wayfinding alongside the provision of culturally contextualised and sensitive content
  • Immersive story telling
  • Provision of an enhanced visitor experience at remote or unmanned tourist and historic heritage sites
  • Identifying and testing supporting operational and commercial models

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.

The Challenge

Tourism NI are looking for proposals from technology and tourism stakeholders with innovative digital ideas relevant to developing the use of augmented reality technologies.  We want to see solutions with potential appeal to the wider tourism marketplace and that also consider the underlying operational and commercial models.

The Themes

We are looking for innovative solutions to address one or both of our contest challenge themes.

Theme 1:  Multi-Lingual Way Finding

We are seeking to find a creative solution to enhance the visitor experience by helping people of all abilities and language requirements, find their way seamlessly around and between tourist attractions. 

Solutions should consider:

  • Delivery of efficient, effective and stress free wayfinding
  • Multilingual provision
  • 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.
  • How to adapt to the location and environment of the user and be capable of transitioning between outdoor and indoor spaces
  • Allowing the user to navigate the environment virtually

Theme 2: Unmanned and Heritage Tourist Locations

We are seeking to find a digital solution that will deliver an enhanced visitor experience while allowing us to track visitors to historic sites in a way that is low-cost, robust and reliable, and in a way that delivers information in a timely manner, regardless of location, connectivity and power conditions.

Solutions should consider:

  • An immersive experience that recreates life in the original site
  • Pointing users to other nearby attractions
  • A method of tracking visitor footfall
  • Multilingual provision


Who can apply?

To apply you must:

  • propose a solution which responds to one or both of the challenges
  • propose a solution that is creatively, technically or commercially innovative
  • propose a solution that has wider tourism marketplace potential beyond the challenge consortium
  • propose a solution that considers the supporting operating and commercial models

You don’t need to have an existing app or service or be currently active in the Immersive industry.

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

Stage one involves the completion of an application form and making a short innovative presentation of your idea. We will then select up to 6 solutions to go through to the next stage.

Stage 2

Stage two involves a live pitch and Q&A to an expert assessment panel on 18th December 2017 who will make the final decision on which solutions to fund.

Applicants can apply from 26th October 2017. There is a briefing event for potential applicants to find out more information, on 3rd November 2017 at 10.30 in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.

To learn more about the contest and to get the application form, go to the web page for this competition at:

Key dates:

Contest Opens

26 October 2017

Briefing event

3 November 2017

Submission deadline

7 December 2017

Shortlisted companies notified

11 December 2017

Pitch/ winners selected

11 December 2017

Development and trial window

December 2017 to March 2018

Panel presentation

6 April 2018 (provisional date)


Need help?

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



Invitation to apply - download

This Invitation to Apply should be read in conjunction with other documents associated with this competition:

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI