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Boost in tourist numbers to Scottish Isles

12 February 2014 by
Boost in tourist numbers to Scottish Isles

Tourism in the Scottish Isles is on the up, according to a newly published survey.

The Islands Visitor Survey 2012-13, in association with tourist board Visit Scotland, showed that 425,000 people had visited the islands as tourists during the year 2012-13, with 75% of tourist saying that they were likely to return within the next five years.

The Outer Hebrides were the most popular islands visited by just over 218,000 people (compared with 171,000 in the last study in 2005-6); followed by Orkney, which attracted almost 143,000 day/overnight visitors (142,000 in 2008-9).

Shetland saw over 64,000 people (60,000 in 2005-6) spend an average of 10 nights on the island.

Visitors to Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides spent over £100m last year, the survey showed.

More than 4,000 people departing Orkney, Shetland or the Outer Hebrides were asked why they had visited, where they stayed, and what they did.

Respondents were mainly attracted by the islands' landscape, as well as their archaeology and history. Almost four fifths (80%) of visitors stated that they were "very satisfied" with their visit.

Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: "The results from the Islands Visitor Survey are a credit to the people working in the hotels and tourism sector on our islands.

"With beautiful scenery, rich history and diverse culture it's no surprise that Scotland's islands are attracting more visitors and encouraging them to spend more and stay longer."

He added that this year's hosting of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in Scotland suggested 2014 could be a "remarkable year for tourism".

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