HOLLYWOOD movie Brave is expected to generate £120 million for the Scottish economy in the next five years, as fans of the Disney film flock to see the areas that inspired it.
VisitScotland said today that the Pixer animation has already brought thousands of fans to Scotland after the organisation combined a huge marketing drive with the films promotion.
The film, which starred Billy Connolly, Emma Thomson and Robbie Coltrane, along with marketing for Scotland has already been seen by 505 million people around the world.
Set in the Scottish Highlands, the film tells the story of a Princess Merida, played by Kelly Macdonald, who defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in the kingdom by expressing the desire to not be betrothed.
After consulting a witch for help, Merida accidentally transforms her mother into a bear and is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late.
VisitScotland said the films appeal to tourists is forecast to generate £120 million over five years for the economy, and £140 million over ten years
It said two of the places and landscapes that inspired some of the locations and scenes in the film have already seen a rise in visitors.
The cliff top ruins of Dunottar Castle, near Stonehaven, had 16 per cent more visits this summer than the same time last year.
Callanish Stones, which were visited by writers and artists from animation studio Pixar during a fact finding tour of Scotland, was an inspiration for the film’s ring of stones.
VisitScotland has spent £7 million on the joint marketing campaign with Disney.
According to research by VisitScotland, about 82 million people in the UK, North America and Europe saw the campaign’s TV advertising.
US and Canadian tourists on Disney’s Scotland: A Brave Adventure tour have spent time in the Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness, Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel and Cuillin Hills Hotel on Skye.
Disney said that hundreds of people have already booked for the 2014 tour.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said Brave was a global success story and a major boost for Scotland.
He said: “Brave has increased international awareness of Scotland and showcased the magnificent historic sites and beautiful landscapes that our country has to offer.
“I’m delighted by the success of the film and the boost we expect it to continue to bring to the economy.”
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “This is just the beginning of how VisitScotland plans to maximize on Brave.
“One of the reasons we were so determined to work with Disney was that the movie was dubbed into every relevant language across the world, an ideal vehicle to reach emerging markets.
“What’s more, Brave is primarily targeted at a young, influential audience. I genuinely anticipate Scottish tourism benefitting from this movie well into the 2020s.”
Bruce Austin, Adventures by Disney manager for Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe, said the division’s 2013 season had been an “outstanding success”.