CRUISE passengers heading to Scotland are set to hit the 500,000 mark for the first time this year thanks to new lines, including a Disney service.
The predicted passenger milestone follows a record-breaking season in 2015 when Scottish ports welcomed 460,546 visitors, up 14.8% on 2014 and the sixth successive annual increase.
A total of 501 cruise ships called at ports around the country, an increase of 9.6% on 2014.
The visits generated an estimated £54.6 million for the Scottish economy through passenger spend, up by about £5.5 million on 2014.
More than 525,000 passengers on 644 vessels are expected this year, according to marketing association Cruise Scotland.
Among the ships planning to visit is a Disney Magic cruise which will call at Greenock, Kirkwall and Invergordon on its first round-Britain voyage.
Cruise Scotland chairman Victor Sandison said: “The continuing growth shows the increasing popularity of Scotland as a destination in a highly-competitive global market.
“This year’s estimated passenger count of over 525,000 will take us around halfway to the annual target of 1.1 million by 2029 - a figure identified in a study carried out in 2010 when there were just over 268,000 cruise visitors.
“Breaking half-a-million passengers will be a great achievement for all involved in marketing, port services and providing a great welcome, from harbours and shops to visitor attractions.”