SCOTLAND’S historic castles, stunning scenery and bustling cities are luring more American tourists than ever before.
Record numbers of people from the US have come to Scotland this year seeking history, culture and “life enrichment”, according to research by VisitScotland.
This has been sparked by the country’s appearance in recent films and TV programmes, especially historical sci-fi drama Outlander, the tourist body has said.
Around 713,000 Americans visited Scotland in the 12 months til June this year and the numbers were up 71% in the first half to 2017 compared to the same period last year.
US tourists spent an estimated £761 million during average stays of nine days.
The report said: “In general, Scotland is viewed as a country of great natural beauty, rich in history and culture.
“It typically appeals to the discerning USA traveller who may see travel as a means of life enrichment, relaxation and mental refreshment.
“There is a perception that Scotland is a special kind of destination for a sophisticated and independent minded US traveller – a location that not everyone flocks to.”
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead added: “The Outlander effect has played a significant part in helping attract visitors from the US, taking the country by storm since the release of the popular TV series.
“Some of our most loved historical attractions, such as Doune Castle and Blackness Castle, have shown staggering increases in visitor numbers as the series brings to life aspects of Scotland’s history, our people and culture.
“This has undoubtedly led to renewed interest in ancestral tourism within the American market.
“But instead of researching roots, these visitors wish to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, visiting the regions where they lived and share the experiences they once had here.”