World’s first tourist chatbot is launched

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This week the Isle of Skye has become the first region to offer an artificial intelligence information service for tourists.

Using world leading technology, Calum MacDonald has created a 24/7 live information service to answer any questions visitors to the isle might have.

The Tourist Chatbot, called Donald, which has been in development for the past year, uses artificial intelligence to respond to tourists in real time and is accessed via Donaldfromskye.com

Calum explains: ‘I created the Donald from Skye platform in response to a backlash we were experiencing on the Isle of Skye around tourism. It has taken me the best part of a year to be able to bring to life my vision with the Tourist Chatbot, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. The bot is pretty good at understanding people, just don’t swear at him or ask him where his troosers are!’

The potential for the Tourist Chatbot is huge, providing valuable insights over time that can inform the tourism strategy on Skye.

Donaldfromskye.com has been designed with the functionality to show where the ‘hot spots’ are in real-time, all people need to do is download the Explore Skye app. From the GPS map to the live chat facility, visitors can be directed to other attractions to avoid congestion.

Calum is calling on all tourism businesses on Skye and VisitScotland to get behind Donald from Skye and the Tourist Chatbot, saying: ‘Skye is the first place to have this and people should be very proud and promote him.

‘The uses for this technology are incredible. I’m hoping it’s going to get the right backing from VisitScotland and other regional Destination Management Organisations (DMO) because that’s what this is – a complete DMO interactive communications platform.

‘I am in discussions with other DMOs around the world who are keen to create their version of ‘Donald from Skye’.

‘This model is a no brainer to me, every place should have one – it is local knowledge programmed by local people. The information is unbiased and represents all businesses and facilities on the island.’

Since launching, Donald From Skye has been translated into Mandarin – reflecting a growing popularity of the Isle of Skye with the Chinese – and the first GPS enabled map for the island was also introduced to the platform.

A list of topics programmed into the bot so far are: Hello/greetings; weather; trains; buses; ferries; taxis; car hire; public toilets; boat trips; tour guides; banking; cash; fuel/petrol/diesel; electric charging points; police; accident; emergency; coastguard; mountain rescue; doctors; hospitals; car breakdowns; flat tyre; swimming; play pool; accommodation; hotels; B&Bs; eating; church; Fergie/tractors; golf; where’s yer troosers; abusive language, WiFi.