25 April 2012
The opening of the new Riverside Museum boosted visitor numbers
Visits to Scotland’s main tourist attractions increased by four million to nearly 47million last year, according to Glasgow Caledonian University’s influential Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor.
Numbers soared with the re-launch of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the opening of Riverside Museum in Glasgow boosting the figures.
Moffat Centre researchers compiled the findings of 649 tourist sites across Scotland – and the ‘big winners’ were Scotland’s free-admission attractions, which overall welcomed twice as many visitors as paid-for sites.
The findings for 2011, identified by the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development Survey, named the free-to-enter National Museum of Scotland as 2011’s busiest attraction with 1,494,728 visitors - a rise of 141% on 2010 – following its extensive refurbishment completed in July 2011.
The new Riverside Museum in Glasgow notched up 1,068,986 visitors since its opening in June 2011 and St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh enjoyed a 20% rise to 851,375.
Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development, said: “Partly as a result of the new and upgraded attractions, the Scottish Tourism industry continues to develop and we see positive trends.
“In previous years’ we’ve had shocks such as the volcanic ash cloud and security issues which have negatively impacted on the figures. No doubt the recession and fuel costs have also taken their toll, particularly on the smaller and more remote attractions without a secure source of funding.”