VisitScotland

Free Scottish tourist attractions prove 'doubly' popular

Press release   •   Apr 19, 2016 09:54 BST

‘Free’ is the magic number when it comes to visitor attractions in Scotland, according to new research by Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development.

Findings from the Centre’s annual Visitor Attraction Monitor showed free admissions welcomed more than double the number of visitors as paid admissions in 2015, despite over half of Scotland’s attractions including an entry charge.

More than 41 million people flocked to free attractions last year, up by 1.6% on 2014. Free Edinburgh attractions such as the National Museum of Scotland and Scottish National Gallery continue to draw huge numbers of visitors, whilst 67% of all Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley attractions are free admission, amassing more than 17 million visits.

The detailed data, which covers 720 Scottish attractions, showed a 2.2% overall increase across the country, with attractions in the Kingdom of Fife boasting the greatest increase in visitors and the greatest spend per visit.

It also found transport-themed attractions like the Falkirk Wheel, Edinburgh Bus Tours and the Strathspey Steam Railway were particularly popular in 2015, recording a collective 10% increase.

Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at GCU, said: “It may come as no surprise that tourists love free attractions, but paid attractions can take solace that overall visit numbers have also increased. Scotland boasts a fantastic breadth of options for tourists and the Visitor Attraction Monitor provides Scottish attractions with detailed, consistent and reliable data to shape their future planning.”

The findings follow the results of the top ten tourist attractions revealed in February, which showed seven Scottish attractions achieved more than one million visitors each. Edinburgh Castle remained Scotland’s most popular attraction overall, with over 1,568,500 visitors.

The Visitor Attraction Monitor, published today, has provided unrivalled annual analysis of Scottish attraction performance since 1999.

Find out more about the Moffat Centre.

- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

David Christie, Communications Officer and Corporate Writer

0141 273 1003

david.christie@gcu.ac.uk

Professor John Lennon,
Director of the Moffat Centre
Tel: 07976 569368

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
  • 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 events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com


    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme

ERDF.