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Tourists turn to mobile bookings

THE increasing importance of digital technology to the Scottish visitor experience has been underlined in a report by an Edinburgh-based tourism body.

The report, from Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), highlights the growing trend of bookings being made on mobiles and tablets versus traditional desktop computers, and for tourists using mobile apps to plan their activities while on holiday.

Its report suggests more people in the UK make travel plans using mobile devices than in any other country in Europe. With one in five online travel bookings across Europe expected to be made on mobiles by early 2015, the UK is expected to lead the way at 21% by this time next year, followed by Italy (20%), France and Germany (18%) and Spain and Scandinavia (17%).

The ETAG report, which will was compiled for the Tourism Intelligence Scotland website, notes that global searches for Edinburgh rose by 11% last year, with the growth coming mainly on mobile and tablet devices.

ETAG, which hosted a conference on technology in tourism last month, noted consumers searching for tourism experiences on mobiles exceeded those using traditional PCs for the first time at Christmas.

Its report comes as Edinburgh prepares to launch a free public wi-fi service across the city this summer.

ETAG chairman Robin Worsnop said: "The UK consumer is miles ahead of anywhere else in the world in terms of using online to book holidays. And I think that's also reflected in the standard in Edinburgh and the industry. We're quite up to date with much of the technology and the opportunities that arise from it."

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