Scottish tourist attractions welcome two million visitors for first time

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:41:00 GMT
The National Museum of Scotland welcomed two million visitors
The National Museum of Scotland welcomed two million visitors

Two Scottish tourist attractions each welcomed more than two million visitors for the first time in 2017.

The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle attracted 2,165,601 and 2,063,709 visitors respectively last year, up 19.6 per cent and 16 per cent on 2016, according to the latest research by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development.

 A further five Scottish attractions each welcomed more than a million visitors.

The annual survey of more than 700 of the country’s paid and free attractions reveals tourism across Scotland was up by 5 per cent last year.

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

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, Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, and Scottish Seabird Centre. 

Professor John Lennon, Moffat Centre Director, said: “Two Scottish visitor attractions welcoming more than two million visitors for the first time is a sure sign of the enduring appeal and strength of the sector. Edinburgh and Glasgow continue to dominate the country’s tourism industry but regional performance across Scotland is also buoyant and encouraging.

“As a destination, Scotland continues to benefit from the lower value of Sterling against the Euro and the US Dollar, ensuring tourists receive value for money as well as a high-quality experience. Demand has been further buoyed by a resurgent domestic ‘stay-cation’ market as Britain faces economic uncertainty and the reduced purchasing power of Sterling.”


Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:“2017 was another fantastic year for tourism in Scotland and I’m delighted to hear our visitor attractions enjoyed another bumper year. It is a testament to all the hard work put in by businesses across the country to ensure that visitors have the best experience possible.

“It was especially pleasing to hear that Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland both welcomed over two million visitors, which is particularly apt as 2017 was the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends – the year long programme shone a spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets as well as our hidden gems.

“It’s also important to remember the benefits these visitors bring. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change.”

The top 20 visitor attraction table forms the initial findings of the Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor, the unrivalled annual analysis of Scottish attraction performance since 1999. The full report covering visitor numbers at over 700 of Scotland’s tourist attractions will be completed in March.

Glasgow Caledonian UniversityMoffat centreVisitscotlandNational Museum of ScotlandEdinburgh Castle