TOURISM leaders are attempting to create an authentic picture of Scotland during the Covid-19 lockdown by opening a window to people's experiences while they stay at home.

National tourism body, Visit Scotland, is harnessing the unique views from Scottish windows to illustrate life during the lockdown.

The images, whether they are mundane or inspiring, will help form a new social media campaign which will map where the snapshots have been taken from.

In a bid to suppress the spread of coronavirus across Scotland, people are being told to stay at home unless they are buying essential food and medicine, undertaking work which cannot be completed at home and one outdoors exercise session a day.

As people across the country stay at home, Visit Scotland is urging residents to share the sights they can see from their properties - in a bid to create a virtual vision of Scotland's towns, villages and cities.

The project hopes to create a reminder of what is waiting across Scotland when travel restrictions and social distancing measures are lifted by authorities, when safe to do so.

The project has been launched amid fears the lockdown, brought on by the pandemic, is having a huge detrimental impact on Scotland's tourism industry.

Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion every year including the wider supply chains that support it. The industry contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP, making up around 5% of it.

The Fraser of Allander Institute has forecast that up Scotland's GDP could shrink by up to 25% as a result of the pandemic, if restrictions stay in place for a three-month period.

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The summer tourist season was dealt a major blow with the inevitable cancellation of Edinburgh's five major festivals.

Twitter users are being asked to take a picture of a view from their property and post it on social media using the hashtag #AWindowOnScotland and their location such as #Stirling, #Aberdeen or #Glasgow.  

Tourism leaders hope the campaign will remind visitors, particularly those who go on holiday at Scottish locations and represent one of the country's most important tourism markets - of the diverse landscape, vibrant cities and stunning scenery that is waiting for them when the isolation ends.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of Visit Scotland, said: "At the moment it is important we stay at home but while we can't get out, we saw an opportunity to create something that will remind people of what Scotland has to offer when this is over.  

"When people are apart and feeling isolated, it is more important than ever to bring them together in an act of solidarity to show the warm, welcoming and friendly spirit of Scotland's people."

He added: "A Window On Scotland will spread the love of our home towns, villages and cities from across Scotland to our friends, neighbours and visitors and expand the window for the world during this challenging time.  

"We hope this campaign will also offer tourism businesses an outlet to showcase their own views of Scotland and inspire visitors to see them for themselves when they can in the future."

Visit Scotland's campaign will carry a very clear and responsible "stay at home" message - but will allow everyone to show off their corner of Scotland to the world.

The tourism industry is facing its toughest-ever challenge at the moment, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause national and international travel restrictions.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Warning economy could shrink by 25%

Visit Scotland says it is working in partnership with the Scottish Government and other key authorities to manage any developments as effectively as possible.

The Building Centre, a London-based hub for the built environment, dating back to 1931, is attempting to map the shutdowns of the world's cities, towns and villages.

The organisation is aiming to create a national archive of  images of empty buildings and streets and is inviting both amateurs and professionals to record their own neighbourhoods during this lockdown period.

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The Building Centre is stressing that the images must be produced within social distancing and travel restriction guidelines - but believes many living in the centre of towns and cities will be able to take photographs safely from their homes.

A spokesperson for The Building Centre said: "While hoping that this will never ever happen again, some creativity might come into our daily lives through capturing this new landscape.

"We would like anyone with access to a smart phone or digital camera to record their own streets and buildings during this lock-down period.

"Obviously this must be within the guidelines set out by the government of limiting our trips out for essential shopping or exercise, but many people living in the heart of towns and cities will be able to take striking photographs out of their windows."

The Building Centre hopes to document an archive of the photographic material and launch  a major exhibition at its London gallery, once it re-opens to the public, following the lockdown.