Tourism spin-offs spreading across Scotland

19 March 2019

Tourism spin-offs are spreading across the whole of Scotland thanks to the success of the V&A Dundee and Highland attractions, according to new research.

Experts from Glasgow Caledonian University's Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism analysed the performance of 680 paid and free tourist sites for the 2018 Visitor Attraction Monitor.

Overall, the number of visits fell by 0.5% to 61,419,965, largely due to indoor attractions being affected by record-breaking temperatures over the summer months, but tourism remains strong.

Figures for the V&A Dundee, which opened in September, show 341,265 people visited the museum in its first three months.

The success of Scotland’s first museum of design has helped other Dundee attractions, with Discovery Point seeing numbers surge by 40.5%.

The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle remain Scotland’s most popular attractions, with 2,227,773 and 2,111,578 visitors respectively in 2018, up 2.9 per cent and 2.3 per cent on the previous year.

Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre, said: "There is no doubt visitors are seeing more of the country and the benefits of tourism are being spread across Scotland.

"There's been a lot of interest in the V&A but that interest has spread out and has had an impact on nearby attractions, like Discovery Point, the McManus Art Gallery, and the Botanic Gardens.

"It has brought tourists to a part of the country that was not really on the visitor map.

“Stirling Castle is up - which takes a bit of pressure off of Edinburgh. Visitors are getting out to Urquhart, which is a good thing, and we are seeing a growth in Loch Ness cruises.”

Alongside the National Museum of Scotland, the Top Ten Free Attractions include the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, Loch Lomond Shores, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the National War Museum and the Regimental Museum of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop.

Joining Edinburgh Castle in the Top Ten Paid Attractions are Edinburgh Bus Tours, Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Urquhart Castle, Glasgow Science Centre, The National Trust for Scotland’s Glenfinnan Monument, The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Scotch Whisky Experience, and cruises on Loch Ness by Jacobite.

The Moffat Centre’s annual Visitor Attraction Monitor (VAM) report, now in its 20th year, is the most comprehensive analysis of visitor trends available in Scotland and is used at a local and national government level to inform policy.

The 2018 report was compiled using a new online portal, designed by digital start-up Ngage, which gives visitor attraction owners and researchers access to live up-to-date data throughout the year.