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Highlands and Islands travel wishes granted

09 September 2013

A new online guide called Journey Genie is being launched in the Highlands and Islands to fulfil the wishes of travellers who want to see the world’s most breathtaking scenery from Scotland’s rail, ferry, bus, and coach services.

With design your own, and pre-set itineraries, the Journey Genie uses maps and links to give detailed information on travel ideas, public transport routes, visitor attractions, and accommodation.

The full version of the website allows visitors to explore the Highlands and Islands, and to plan, save and edit itineraries. These range from simple day trips to complex multi-day tours of the region.  Journeys can be planned starting at any point in Scotland, making it easier for visitors to plan their trips to the Highlands and Islands, as well as within the region once they get there.

A mobile version of the website then allows tourists to take the Genie with them on their travels, so they can access and change their travel plans whilst on the move, and obtain real-time updates on travel services.

The project is the result of collaboration between HITRANS, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Traveline Scotland, Visit Scotland and the EU’s Northern Periphery Programme. Funded through the Northern Periphery Programme’s TransTourism project, it aims to make travelling around the Highlands and Islands easier for tourists, greener for the environment and more beneficial for local businesses.

Tony Jarvis of HIE said: “Journey Genie is a ground-breaking website which provides a new, fun way for visitors to plan their travels around the Highlands and Islands. We hope the Genie will encourage more visitors to take advantage of our excellent transport networks and strengthen the region's position as a world-class sustainable tourism destination."

The green side of the Journey Genie is something that has attracted many plaudits and one that has been spearheaded by the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS). HITRANS covers the Western Isles, Orkney, Highlands, Moray and most of the Argyll and Bute area.

Frank Roach from HITRANS said: “The Highland and Islands are outstanding areas of natural beauty with fantastic travel links. The Journey Genie has been created to make looking for accommodation, public transport, route ideas, attractions, and timetables a fun and easy process. The site allows each user to create their own bespoke itinerary, using Google maps and other interfaces to give our users as much relevant, up-to-date information as possible.”

HITRANS Chair, Councillor John Semple said:  “We’ve been working hard with Local Authorities, the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, HIE, and transport operators to improve transport services and infrastructure across the Highlands and Islands areas. The Journey Genie is the culmination of this work. We believe that by increasing the efficiency and usability of our public transport system we can make travelling easier for tourists and reduce carbon emissions.”

“The Highlands and Islands is a well-connected place and the Journey Genie shows this.”

Journey Genie is a EUR 250k project, funded by HITRANS, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the EU Northern Periphery Programme, through the TransTourism project (

Associate partners are: Calmac Ferries Ltd, Stagecoach, First ScotRail, Traveline Scotland, Visit Scotland, Destination Loch Ness, Cairngorms Business Partnership, University of Aberdeen.

Find out more about Journey Genie
Twitter - @journey_genie

Leave a comment

David Richardson 11/09/2013

Great idea and it is very early days but I suggest that you add a lot more information urgently if you want it to have credibility with the trade and consumers. How about adding Forest Enterprise walks, walks from walkhighlands (I am sure that a deal could be done), beaches, viewpoints...the list is endless. I checked out Gairloch as an example and note that Big Sand is located in the wrong place and that it is listed as an Activity. However, when you click on the label (which shows a walker with a rucksack and staff) it tells you what a wonderful place it is to sit and enjoy the view - something that you can do by walking 100yds or so. Why no mention of the great walking in the area? Of more immediate concern to consumers and local businesses alike will be the very limited selection of accommodation, boat trips and other important tourism businesses on display. Why so...and why don't you have a button that businesses can click to register their interest? As I say, I think that it is a great idea and that it should work really well...but only if you invest more time and money in adding the detail that a visitor will require if he or she is going to commit to visiting a specific area..

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