Leader comment: More thanks for Outlander

Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Picture: PA
Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Picture: PA
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We’ve heard much talk of the so-called “Outlander effect” on Scottish tourism, and today we have more hard figures to support the claim.

Historic Environment Scotland is reporting a 20 per cent average increase in footfall at its 70 sites across the country, meaning this summer was the busiest season on record.

Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, has been behind much of the rise, particularly a 42 per cent hike at Doune Castle – famed for its role as the fictional Castle Leoch in the series. VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead has even hailed Outlander as the new “Braveheart” of tourism, for its ability to attract international visitors to its locations around Scotland.

It all adds up to great news for Scottish tourism as the industry faces an uncertain time negotiating the post-Brexit world.

Today’s figures suggest a huge number of people coming to Scotland for the Outlander connection. Once here, we need to ensure they stay – and come back – for much more.