A NEW app could spark a tourist boom in the rural heartlands of Scotland similar to that seen on the North Coast 500.

The app will show visitors what they can see and do along the A9 corridor from the central belt to Inverness, and ties in with the dualling of the route due to be completed by 2025.

Attractions and businesses ranging from Bronze Age cemetery Clava Cairns to Alyth Museum in Perthshire, to Blairgowrie Golf Club will feature as well as less well-known visitor spots.

The Highland Discovery app has been produced as part of the Scottish Government’s Civ Tech Challenge, which asks new technology businesses to solve tech challenges. It is based on work by tourism professor John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) .

Lennon has led tourism development in rural areas with the use of digital resources. He played a big part in the launch of the North Coast 500 loop route around the west and north coasts, which has brought a tourism boom to remote areas, and hopes the app can do something similar for the A9 corridor.

He said: “It’s clear the A9 dualling can be a catalyst for much wider economic development. By connecting visitors to local attractions through the app, we hope the experience, information and journey will open up parts of rural Scotland to visitors.”

The app has been developed by Scottish technology specialist Learn to Love Digital and GCU. After trials it will be rolled out in full next year.

Lennon added: “It really is pretty cutting-edge, the first of its type in the UK ... This will entertain you in the car but also tells you about destinations along the road.”

“It will tell you stories about the ghosts of soldiers who died at Killiecrankie, and tell you about the geology of the area you are passing through. It will give songs to sing with the kids in the back of the car and also recommend the best local ice cream.”