Number of North American tourists visiting Scotland up 14%

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A sharp rise in the number of North American tourists heading to Scotland helped offset a drop in visitors from Europe last year, official figures reveal.

The number of visitors from across the Atlantic grew by 14 per cent in the year up to September 2016.

Spending by North American tourists in Scotland was also up to £633 million - a 28 per cent increase on the previous year.

There was an overall six per cent increase in international tourists spending in Scotland to September 2016.

While there was a seven per cent drop in European markets, the majority of international visits to Scotland still come from the continent.

It was revealed last week the number of people working in Scottish tourism has soared by 11 per cent in the space of just 12 months, thanks to a growing number of hotels and bars across the country.

READ MORE: Record number of Scots now employed in tourism

Tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “These excellent figures confirm visitors from the region continue to spend more when they visit Scotland. It’s great news for our hotels, shops and restaurants that depend on tourism revenue.

“Scotland’s tourism businesses, and their 217,000 jobs, work incredibly hard to make our country a must-visit destination for foreign travellers.

“Visitors can be assured that when they come to Scotland, they will receive a warm welcome and experience spectacular scenery and top class attractions.

“Our tourism sector operates in a highly competitive international market. European markets have registered a dip, which may be linked to uncertainty over safety and security affecting travel.”