New internet-connected visitor monitoring sensors are helping hospitality and tourism businesses on The Isle of Lewis to understand patterns in visitor numbers and predict busy periods, with a pilot system now installed at the Calanais Stones.
The technology has been developed by CENSIS in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise area team on Lewis, the HIE Innovation team and the Outer Hebrides Cruise Forum.
Ahead of an anticipated growth in cruise tourism in 2024, the team at Calanais has turned to technology to help monitor busy periods that have a knock-on impact on other businesses in the community such as shops and cafes.
Starting with the standing stones – with a view to expanding the technology to cover other popular areas and attractions – IoT sensors have been installed to better manage busy periods. The sensors collect information about the number of people attending the site at one time, allowing patterns to be identified. Data collected is then displayed via an app-based dashboard where the Calanais team can monitor numbers in real-time.
If the data dashboard shows the site is particularly busy as soon as visitors arrive on Lewis, for example, they could be advised to visit the attraction at a quieter point of the day.
The 5,000-year-old Calanais Stones, which pre-date Stonehenge, currently attract over 130,000 visitors per year. However, a £60 million Deep Water Terminal set for completion next year will boost tourism in the islands – with the new infrastructure enabling larger cruise ships to berth in the Stornoway port. The Outer Hebrides Cruise Forum was established to help communities maximise the economic opportunity, including the introduction of new technology.
Read the news release for this project.