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Outlander is new ‘Braveheart’ of tourism

News   •   Sep 08, 2017 12:29 BST

Doune Castle doubles as Castle Leoch in Outlander

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead has hailed Outlander as the new ‘Braveheart’ of tourism with visitors from around the world flocking to Scotland to experience the landscape that inspired the series, the same way that thousands travelled to the country after the release of Braveheart in 1995.

Latest figures from the Moffat Centre’s Visitor Attraction Monitor* show the tangible effect the series, which is based on Diana Gabaldon’s famous novels, has had on attractions in Scotland with many reporting as much as a 92% rise in visitors.

Between 2014, when the series first aired and 2016, Doune Castle - which doubles as Castle Leoch in the popular show - has had an unprecedented 91.8% increase in visitors from 47,069 to 90,279.

Blackness Castle, which provides the setting for malicious Black Jack Randall’s headquarters has welcomed 85.5% more visitors since 2014, rising from 16,559 visitors per year to 30,053 in 2016.

Other key attractions which have seen a growth in numbers since Jamie and Claire first hit our screens include Glencoe Visitor Centre (+53%), Glasgow Cathedral (+35%) and Preston Mill (+18%).

Recent VisitScotland research has also shown the profound impact the series has had on visitors with Outlander being the most mentioned TV or film inspiration for people (especially those from the USA) wanting to come to the country, above Braveheart, Harry Potter and Highlander.**

The national tourism organisation’s Outlander locations map which features on VisitScotland.com has received hundreds of thousands of downloads since it was added in 2014 and over 24,000 hard copies of the map have been distributed in that time. Organic traffic to the Outlander page on visitscotland.com has risen 15% in the past 12 months.

Outlander returns to screens in the US (Sunday 10 Sept) and UK (Monday 11 Sept) for its much-anticipated third season. Based on the bestselling books by Diana Gabaldon, the Outlander television series is produced by Sony Pictures Television and shown in the UK on Amazon Prime.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“We have been absolutely blown away by the response globally to the Outlander series and the direct impact it has had on visits is truly exceptional. In past research it is always Braveheart, Harry Potter or even the Da Vinci Code which was mentioned as film inspiration, but in recent times it is Outlander which is referenced above all others. And I’m not surprised, Scotland looks truly stunning in the series and I can see why fans of Jamie and Claire want to experience the land that inspired Outlander for themselves.

“Film tourism is hugely important for the Scottish economy and year on year we see more and more set-jetters coming to our country to experience for themselves the backdrops that feature in their favourite film or movie. This is not a trend that will go out of fashion, so whether it’s heading to Lewis to see where Katie Morag’s adventures began or unlocking the mysteries of the Holy Grail at Rosslyn Chapel, we hope many more will continue to come to Scotland to see the real life movie sets.”

Scottish locations to have benefited from their association with movies or television shows include:

Braveheart (1995) – the Wallace Monument in Stirling saw visitor numbers leap from 30,000 a year to nearly 200,000 in 1996.

The Da Vinci Code (2006) – Dan Brown’s 2003 novel had a huge effect on Rosslyn Chapel. Visitor numbers increased by 72 per cent, from 68,603 in 2004 to 118,151 in 2005. In 2006, following the release of the film directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, visitor numbers reached 175,053.

Skyfall (2012) – the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise was great news for Glen Coe. Statistics from the National Trust for Scotland revealed that 114,298 people visited the region in 2013/14 - up 41.7 per cent on 2012/13.

For more information on Outlander and Scotland, go to www.visitscotland.com/outlander

*Moffat Centre Outlander Attractions Visitor Numbers 2013 – 2016

**Scotland Visitor Survey 2015 – 2016

OUTLANDER ATTRACTIONS % INCREASE 2014-2016

Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2014 - 2016
Doune Castle 38,081 47,069 68,518 90,279 91.8%
Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot 2,298 1,872 2,383 2,217 18.4%
Glencoe Visitor Centre 114,284 130,006 133,444 199,327 53.3%
Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway 68,306 68,329 73,830 77,856 13.9%
Highland Folk Museum 53,364 54,065 66,251 64,078 18.5%
Aberdour Castle 12,518 13,184 14,107 15,392 16.7%
Linlithgow Palace 66,500 63,274 66,324 74,428 17.6%
Blackness Castle 15,197 16,559 21,556 30,053 81.5%
Muiravonside Country Park No Data 117,099 124,229 132,941 13.5%
Callendar House 36,060 32,514 45,491 34,981 7.6%
Dean Castle (Closure of parts of the site) 29,827 22,806 24,767 21,778 -4.5%
Glasgow Cathedral 233,172 219,947 182,205 296,062 34.6%
Gosford House 1,023 1,500 1,500 1,600 6.7%