Rise in Scottish attraction visits reported

Scottish visitor attractions saw a 0.6 per cent rise in visit numbers last year, with 225,000 more made in 2013 than had been in 2012, according to the Visitor Trend Report from the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA).

The figures are based on numbers reported by close to 250 Association members.

All in all it was found that more than 32 million attraction visits were made during the course of last year – doubtless some of them by people staying at local hotels.

Topping the table for most-visited attraction was the National Museum of Scotland. This is the third consecutive year the museum has claimed this title. All in all, 2013 saw 1,768,090 visits made to the museum.

When it came to attractions you have to pay to get into, Edinburgh Castle was on top of the list. It saw 1,420,027 visits.

It was discovered that the sectors that had a particularly good year included heritage properties, places linked to the outdoors and sports and distillery venues.

Most attractions linked to whisky saw an increase in visits. With an 11.5 per cent hike, Edinburgh's Scottish Whisky Experience saw more visits than ever before.

Just over half the top 20 attractions overall by visit numbers were located in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

Places in the country's north and south saw the largest visits hike – visits grew by more than seven per cent in both of these regions.

"As ever in Scotland, the unpredictable nature of our weather was a factor in 2013," commented ASVA chair, David O’Neill.

"The first part of the year saw largely cold and wet weather. The coldest March in 50 years, combined with an early Easter, saw overall visitor numbers to the end of May drop by almost -4%."

But when trading peaked in the summer, improved weather helped mean that visitor numbers went up, he added. This trend was seen in outdoor locations, while some indoor locations actually saw visits fall because people were out enjoying the weather.

He explained that the ASVA was confident this year would be a bumper one for Scottish attractions, due to a variety of factors.