Outlander boost to Scottish tourism

THE number of visitors to a Scottish castle has risen by almost a third since it featured in hit drama Outlander, the Culture Secretary has revealed.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan star as Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser in Outlander. Picture: Contributed

Doune Castle, near Stirling, is portrayed as the fictional Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan MacKenzie, where the novels and TV series is set.

Doune also featured as Camelot in the film Monty Python and The Holy Grail and in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones.

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Figures from Historic Scotland show year-on-year visitor numbers to the castle have grown by 30.2 per cent to 49,553 in 2014 to 15.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Doune Castle is just the latest location to report the ‘Outlander effect’.

“From Dumfries to Inverness historic visitor attractions are reporting a rise in visitor numbers thanks to the popularity of the TV show and renewed interest in the novels.

“Canada, the USA and Australia, where the series is shown, all have a shared history with Scotland, and Outlander is a great introduction to our must-visit country.

“We hope that visitor numbers increase further as viewers in the UK and Germany get to enjoy the programme.

“Outlander is just the latest example of Scotland’s starring role in film and screen, with notable recent successes including World War Z, Under the Skin and The Railway Man.

“We have wonderful modern and historic cities, stunning scenery and talented artists and professionals.

“The hit series is the largest ever direct overseas investment in our creative industries. But we want to build on this.

“Throughout Scotland Week and beyond I will be championing the Scottish film industry and Scotland as a great place to do business.”

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Outlander has a massive fanbase, particularly in North America, and TV audiences have been captivated by the show’s blend of stunning Scottish scenery, its romance and its history.

“Scotland is the land that inspired Outlander and our locations map has already proved a big hit with visitors with many making the journey to stunning locations within the series such as Doune Castle.

“Furthermore, we are seeing more and more tourism businesses, including accommodation providers and visitor attractions, looking at ways in which they can capitalise on the show.”

Ms Hyslop will travel to New York and Los Angeles for Scotland Week, attending a series of business, tourism, cultural and film industry engagements.