Visits to Scotland’s main tourist attractions increased by 1.7 million last year, according to new research conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development.
The research undertaken finds visitor numbers rose to more than 55 million, up 3.3% in 2014.
The survey of 687 tourist sites found the most popular destinations in Scotland were free admission attractions, which welcomed more than twice as many visitors as those with entry fees.
The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh was the number one free attraction in 2014 with more than 1,639,509 visitors, followed by the Scotland National Gallery in Edinburgh, Lomond Shores, and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Riverside Museum both in Glasgow.
Historic Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle was, once again, the most popular paid attraction with 1,480,676 visitors in 2014, up 4.3% compared to 2013. Top paid attractions in Scotland included Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Bus Tours, Stirling Castle and Glasgow’s Science Centre.
Success stories include Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, which saw visitor numbers rise by 41.8% between 2013 and 2014 to 1,049,834 visitors, and the Helix in Falkirk, which in its first year welcomed an estimated 800,000 visitors, resulting in a knock-on effect in the local area and an increase of 26.4% of visitors to the Falkirk Wheel.
Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at GCU, said: “2014 proved to be a winning year with visitor attractions enjoying the profile Scotland gained internationally as a result of key events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, and Homecoming 2014. Many operators also saw positive impacts from the anniversaries associated with the First World War, which served to heighten Scotland’s profile and destination awareness, nationally and internationally.”
The Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor undertaken by GCU’s Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development is Europe’s most detailed and consistent review of attraction performance since 1999, providing unrivalled knowledge of the sector.
The full Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor is available from the Moffat Centre by contacting (0)141 331 8400. A highlights document is attached to the release which gives an overview of the Monitor.
Notes to Editors
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- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
Year of Food and Drink 2015
- 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
- Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
- A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
- For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland