Visits To Tourist Attractions Soar

16 March 2015, 07:09 | Updated: 16 March 2015, 07:22

The Commonwealth Games helped boost the number of visits to Scottish tourist attractions by almost 10% last year.

Glasgow attractions such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Riverside Museum and the People's Palace had large increases in visitors due to the staging of the Games in the city, but the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle were also popular.

In total, there were more than 12 million visits to Scottish tourist attractions in 2014.

The national museum was the most visited free attraction in the country with more than 1.6 million visitors and was also the most visited museum outside London.

Edinburgh Castle was the most visited paid-for attraction outside London with almost 1.5 million visitors, a 4% increase on the previous year.

The figures have been released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva).

Good weather also gave a boost to outdoor attractions such as the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Urquhart Castle and Stirling Castle.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "These figures build on the successes of Homecoming 2014, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup and underline Scotland's global reputation as a welcoming, first class destination for visitors from at home and around the world.

"It's fantastic to see that so many cultural attractions in Glasgow are benefiting from the impact of the Commonwealth Games, and that the National Museum of Scotland remains the most visited free attraction in Scotland, retaining its title of most visited museum outside of London.

"I am pleased that Edinburgh Castle continues to top the list of most visited paid-for Scottish attractions, and the National Galleries of Scotland have seen an impressive surge in visitor numbers, thanks in part to the brilliant Generation celebration of contemporary art.

"I am confident we can build on the momentum created in 2014 and continue to deliver strong, high quality experiences that will entice visitors back to our cultural attractions time and time again.''

First World War commemorations, such as the poppy display at the Tower of London, helped boost the number of visits to attractions across the UK.

Overall there was a 6.5% increase in visits to Alva members' properties in the UK in 2014 compared with 2013.

Alva director Bernard Donoghue said: "Scotland's impressive visitor figures - which outperform the rest of the UK - are proof of the need for, and of the successful investment strategy by the Scottish Government, local government and the Heritage Lottery Fund in investing in tourism - Scotland's most important industry.

"Alva is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015 and I am delighted that our member's figures are going from strength to strength - reflecting the significant role they play in the economy.''