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28 Feb 2018

Scottish tourism’s ‘bumper year’ led by visitor attractions

Visitor numbers to Scottish attractions rose “dramatically” in 2017, with an overall total of 30 million visits being made to leading museums, theme parks and heritage attractions.

According to figures from The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), which records visitor numbers across its 450 member locations, there was a 9.7 per cent increase in visitor numbers across its membership.

It is the fourth year running that Scottish attractions have recorded an increase in attendance figures. The latest increase comes on top of a 6 per cent rise in 2016, which followed a 3.4 per cent rise in 2015.

The two top sites – The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle – each attracted more than 2 million visits, the first time that any visitor attraction in Scotland has surpassed the 2 million milestone.

Overall, 77 per cent of attractions reported an increase over 2016 figures, with a “significant number” describing 2017 as their ‘best year to date’.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Tourism is of vital importance to communities throughout Scotland, stimulating economic growth and promoting the importance of our cultural heritage to a wider audience.

“These latest figures demonstrate that our visitor attractions are continuing to create quality experiences, helping build our reputation as a premier tourism destination for people from around the world.”

Sectors which fared particularly well in 2017 include castles and heritage sites (experiencing growth of 14.7 per cent in visitor numbers), museums and galleries (+7.5 per cent), gardens (+13.6 per cent) and distilleries/whisky-related attractions (+11.8 per cent).

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