Outlander hailed as new Braveheart of tourism

Attractions across Scotland are seeing huge increases in visitor numbers, thanks to popular TV series Outlander.

With the third series of Outlander starting this month, VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead hailed the show as the new Braveheart of tourism.

It is inspiring visitors from around the world to experience the landscape that inspired the series, in the same way that thousands travelled to Scotland after the release of Braveheart in 1995.

The Moffat Centre’s Visitor Attraction Monitor shows the significant effect that the series – based on Diana Gabaldon’s famous novels – has had on attractions in Scotland

Between 2014, when the series first aired and 2016, Doune Castle (pictured) – which doubles as Castle Leoch in the show – has had an unprecedented 91.8% increase in visitors, from 47,069 to 90,279.

Blackness Castle, which provides the setting for Black Jack Randall’s headquarters, has welcomed 85.5% more visitors since 2014, rising from 16,559 visitors per year to 30,053 in 2016.

Other key attractions which have seen a growth in numbers since the characters Jamie and Claire first hit the screens include Glencoe Visitor Centre (53%), Glasgow Cathedral (35%) and Preston Mill (18%).

In VisitScotland research, Outlander was the most-mentioned TV or film inspiration for people – especially those from the US – wanting to come to the country, above Braveheart, Harry Potter and Highlander.

The national tourism organisation’s Outlander locations map on visitscotland.com has received hundreds of thousands of downloads since it was added in 2014 and more than 24,000 hard copies of the map have been distributed in that time.

Roughead said: “We have been absolutely blown away by the response globally to the Outlander series and the direct impact it has had on visits is truly exceptional.

“In past research it is always Braveheart, Harry Potter or even the Da Vinci Code which was mentioned as film inspiration, but in recent times it is Outlander which is referenced above all others.

“Film tourism is hugely important for the Scottish economy and year-on-year we see more and more set-jetters coming to our country to experience for themselves the backdrops that feature in their favourite film or movie.”

Scottish locations to have benefited from their association with movies or television shows include the Wallace Monument in Stirling (Braveheart); Rosslyn Chapel (The Da Vinci Code) and Glen Coe (Skyfall).