Scottish tourist attractions see visitor numbers increase for fifth year running
Scottish tourist attractions have welcomed an increase in the number of visitors for the fifth year running.
The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle each attracted more than two million visits in 2018.
Four additional sites saw more than one million visitors, two others in Edinburgh (Scottish National Gallery and St Giles’ Cathedral) and two in Glasgow (Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum).
The statistics were announced by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) in their Visitor Trends Report which indicated that more than 30 million visits were made to 232 attractions, with the organisation boasting more than 480 members.
Figures for 2018 were up 0.1% on last year which saw a 9.7% rise on 2016 and a 6% increase previously.
Gordon Morrison, ASVA chief executive, said: “Although reporting only a modest increase in visitor figures of 0.1%, it should be remembered that 2017 was something of a stellar year.
“To be reporting even a modest increase in 2018 visitor figures is therefore a great achievement for the industry.
“Investment in new attractions, plus attractions that have invested in their visitor offer by developing innovative new products and services and launching inspiring events and exhibitions programmes, are not only reaching new visitor markets but are actively encouraging their existing visitors to return time and again.”
The top 20 list made up for 59% of all visits with 10 of those based in Edinburgh.
Sport and activity attractions saw a 7.7% increase across the country with castles and heritage sites up 4.2% and distilleries enjoying a 2.3% rise.
Attractions across Dundee and Angus also recorded an increase in visitors, largely down to the V&A’s arrival in September.
Discovery Point saw a 42% rise in visitors from 2017 with positive figures for Arbroath Abbey (up 18%) and Barry Mill (up 14%).
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “A growth in visits of any size is a welcome achievement and something we hope will continue.
“The arrival of V&A Dundee, as well as the increasing interest in set-jetting, thanks to TV series like Outlander or films such as Outlaw King, have only strengthened Scotland’s appeal, and with the opening of Moat Brae in Dumfries and the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery taking place this year, there is plenty to look forward to in 2019.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community.
“Over the next 12 months, more than ever, we need to encourage the industry to continue providing a warm welcome to all, as well as world-class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences.”