Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK with a 19% year-on-year visitor increase, new figures reveal


27 March 2019
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Edinburgh Castle has retained its status as the twelfth most-visited attraction in the UK according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) which released its member figures for 2018 today.
Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK with a 19% year-on-year visitor increase, new figures reveal Images

Edinburgh Castle has retained its status as the twelfth most-visited attraction in the UK according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) which released its member figures for 2018 today.

In addition to outperforming the rest of the UK for the seventh year in a row, the most visited attractions outside London were in Scotland. Edinburgh Castle – the most-visited paid attraction in Scotland – welcomed 2,111,578 visitors in 2018 at an increase of 2% on the previous year.

Other Historic Environment sites which performed well include Doune Castle with 142,091 visitors at an increase of 14% on the previous year – partly due to the ongoing 'Outlander effect' (with people visiting Scotland to see places featured in the Outlander books and series), and Stirling and Urquhart Castles which had 605,241 and 518,195 visits in 2018 respectively.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at HES, said: "I am delighted that ALVA members across the UK have continued to see a rise in the numbers of visitors to their sites. Scotland has outperformed the rest of the UK for the seventh year in a row, demonstrating the appeal our history and heritage has on international and domestic visitors. We look forward to another successful year across the sector and welcoming many more visitors to our sites."

Continued UK growth

The UK as a whole saw an average year-on-year increase of 8.89% visits to attractions. However, Scotland saw the biggest increase with 19.65% while Northern Ireland saw 4.67% growth.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, said: "I’m so delighted that every year, more and more people, from here in the UK and from overseas, are experiencing the astonishing array of our leading attractions in every part of the UK. Tourism is our fifth biggest industry and third largest employer and ALVA members are proud to be the principal reason that overseas visitors cite when choosing to visit the UK."

(report and images courtesy of Historic Environment Scotland)