Scottish companies running Outlander tours are reporting big increases in the number of American visitors since the series began airing in the United States last year.
The news comes with the hit show set to be premiered in the UK with a special joint-screening of the first episode in Glasgow and London today (Monday 23 March).
VisitScotland has revealed that its dedicated Outlander section at visitscotland.com/outlander, which features a downloadable locations map and itineraries, has been viewed more than 175,000 times since it went live in August 2014.
The national tourism organisation, which has been doing marketing activity around Outlander in North America since its launch last summer and has further activity planned for Germany and the UK, has received positive feedback from a number of tour companies.
Based in the Borders, Scottish Clans and Castles has been running Outlander tours to various locations featured in Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling books since 2006. But since the television series first aired in the United States in August last year, owner Alastair Cunningham said he had seen a rise of 500 per cent in his company’s Outlander tours, with the vast majority coming from overseas.
Alastair said: “The television series has made a huge difference to visitor numbers. Their interest in Scotland comes from the books or the television series, but when they get here and see places like Culloden and Skye for themselves, they find that the country exceeds their expectations.”
Meanwhile, Burning the Claire and Jamie Trail – an Outlander-themed tour operated by Edinburgh-based Rabbie’s Trail Burners – will see six busloads of fans departing over the summer, taking in locations such as Doune Castle, Inverness, Loch Ness and Castle Leod, all of which feature either in the stories or the television series.
Yvonne Wagoun, Director of Business Development at Rabbie’s, said: “The Outlander books have been hugely popular and the TV series has been long awaited and well received. It was an easy decision to create our very own Outlander-themed tour and our first departure in October last year has had rave reviews from all our passengers on board with our very own red-haired driver guide called Jamie.
“It is proving so popular, particularly among the North American market, that we are looking to increase the number of departures next year. Most of the bookings we have to date are from the US and Canada and some from Australia.
“Guests are promised a unique and special experience and can share their passion for Outlander with others from around the world.”
On 4 April, five-star Mercat Tours launches its Edinburgh Outlander Experience, which takes in locations such as the Canongate Kirk and the World’s End tavern, which feature in the books.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland is the land that inspired Outlander and it is great to see the television series has already had such a positive impact on Scottish tourism.
“With 40 per cent of visitors to the UK inspired to come here after seeing a location on film or on television, a major TV series being shot on location in Scotland carries huge potential benefits for the tourism industry.”
“We expect the series being shown in the UK for the first time this week will inspire potential visitors in the domestic market to follow in Jamie and Claire’s footsteps and explore the stunning locations of Outlander for themselves.”
Chris Bird, Movie and TV Strategy Director, Amazon Prime Instant Video, added: “It’s no surprise that fans are flocking to Scotland to experience the breathtaking world of Outlander first hand, tracing the paths trodden by Jamie and Claire both on-page and now on-screen. With the show available to stream exclusively in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video from Thursday, I’m sure that fan gatherings and visits to the beautiful filming locations across Scotland are only set to increase.”
The Sony Pictures Television production, which was filmed in a studio in Cumbernauld and in other Scottish locations including Doune Castle and Culross, will be available on Amazon Prime Instant Video from Thursday 26 March.
Amazon will host a special screening of the first episode for fans in Glasgow tonight (Monday).
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 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