Dr Marjory Brewster, a lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, said the 80 different games held across the country from May to September, successfully drove “repeat business to distinct locations.”
Dr Brewster said: “Our research indicates that 25% of visitors to highland games are international.
“This is really important for Scotland’s tourism and events industry, and provides a major boost to the economies of key communities.
“Many of the events take place in the highlands and islands, and due to their increased popularity, these events help drive visitor numbers to key locations thereby spreading the tourism spend across the country.”
Activities featured in the games are being piloted in some schools to encourage a younger generation to continue this trend.
Aboyne Highland Games, which will return for its 151st year this August, annually injects around £450,000 into the local economy alone.
Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said: “Since its founding, Aboyne Highland Games has played an important role in the village, attracting thousands of visitors each year who then spend money in local businesses.
“It can be hard to exactly quantify the benefit that the annual highland games brings to the village, but the buzz it creates and increased footfall and trade are very evident.”