Scotland’s main historic attractions, including St Andrews Castle and Cathedral, have proven to be more popular than ever with many Scottish tourism records being broken during the summer period.
Visitors to St Andrews Castle between June and August this year increased by 9.3 per cent and visitors to St Andrews Cathedral rose by 31 per cent in the same period.
Last summer the severe weather caused a sharp reduction in tourism, so the latest record-breaking figures have been welcomed with relief. According to VisitScotand, tourism is worth £11 billion to the Scottish economy.
The increase in tourism has been attributed to the increased numbers of direct flights to Scotland, as well as a rise in the Chinese and Russian tourism market, which may be to thank for the 1,692,611 visitors to Scotland this summer.
There has also been an increase in Scottish visitors, which may be a product of 2013 being the year of Natural Scotland, a campaign which has encouraged more people to go and explore their own country.
Other attractions also saw an increase in the number of visitors. Edinburgh Castle saw figures rise by 26 per cent, and in August alone welcomed 229,90 visitors – the highest recorded number in a single month in its history.
Fiona Hyslop, the cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, commented: “These figures illustrate the important role that heritage plays for modern day Scotland. The benefits are many – in terms of highlighting our diverse culture both at home and abroad – but also in terms of supporting and driving economic growth.
“All the income generated is invested back into our rich historic environment in order to continue to provide world-class attractions for Scots and visitors alike. It is important that we continue to engage with both Scots and visitors from around the world.”
Stephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism for Historic Scotland, added: “We had always expected to see a return to previous levels, but the summer performance has surpassed all expectations.
“As an organisation, we are continuing to evolve our offering to visitors- be that through our retail, e-commerce and membership products, or investing in areas such as our award winning events programme to make history an accessible fun and enjoyable part of people’s lives.”