Scotland’s heritage is the attraction

By | Category: Travel news

Edinburgh Castle: Scotland's biggest attraction

Visit Britain have published a study that looks at what overseas visitors do when they come to our countries. Once you get through the seemingly astonishing fact that it looks as though our restaurants are the biggest tourist attraction, there are some little nuggets to be found. But do these match why we, as residents, want to go there?

The study brings together data across seven years up to 2012 so there aren’t really any one-offs that might distort the figures. Based on the International Passenger Survey which looks at 300,000 people each year, the big conclusion is that Scotland above any region in mainland UK attracts overseas visitors to its castles, historic and religious buildings. And that includes London where you would have thought that the Tower of London, the British Museum and Buckingham Palace would be the main attractions. But in London, the parks and gardens are a bigger draw.

Historic Scotland should be delighted with these figures especially as, next year, the Battle of Bannockburn anniversary is being celebrated on a large scale. Images of Robert the Bruce and the myth of the spider in the cave weaving its web and inspiring the man are bound to be repeated. Historic Scotland reported 1,692,611 visitors over the summer, an increase of 14.8% on the same period last year but last year was a little soggy if you remember.

Is that what attracts you to Scotland or are there other features? The lure of the Scottish countryside – whilst strong – is not as high as the appeal of the Yorkshire countryside is. But there are other things in this report that require some thought. Welsh beaches and the coastline attract more overseas visitors than any other beach and coastline area does. And that is over the south west of England which possesses all those spectacular Cornish and Devon beaches. Isn’t that why people go to the south west? No, it appears that the south west attracts people who like the countryside and walking.

That Scotland attracts people because of its heritage is then slightly clouded by the fact that Wales has a slightly stronger appeal for those researching their ancestry than Scotland does. But then, after next year, the Bannockburn events may stimulate more people to see if they are related to Bruce.

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