Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic

Proposals have been put forward to investigate Gaelic links with historic properties as use of the language has seen a surge in visitor interest.

The popularity of Outlander, and its use of Gaelic, has helped spark a tourism boom in Scotland. Picture: Starz
The popularity of Outlander, and its use of Gaelic, has helped spark a tourism boom in Scotland. Picture: Starz

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation for its Draft Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023.

Under its proposals are a number of strategies aimed at increasing its use and discovering links with the properties in its care.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “We have developed an ambitious plan, which will help to illustrate the place of Gaelic within Scottish culture, while increasing resources for Gaelic speakers and learners.

“We want this consultation to reach as many people as possible so we can ensure that the final plan is robust and representative. We very much look forward to reviewing the feedback.”

The use of Gaelic in the hit TV series Outlander has sparked increased interest amongst visitors to Scotland and historic sites linked to the show are continuing to see significant rises in tourist numbers.

The HES-produced video series Gaelic for Outlanders has been popular amongst YouTube audiences, which the body claims demonstrates potential for further development.

Seven out of 10 of its most watched YouTube videos have been related to the language.

New targets have been put forward to increase knowledge and understanding of Gaelic as part of the historic environment via online resources.

A new series of investigations are planned to explore its links with properties in care of HES.

Any new discoveries will feature in the body’s interpretations and exhibitions.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, said: “I welcome these proposals from HES to further integrate Gaelic into its activities through this new Gaelic Language Plan.

“We are committed to ensuring Gaelic has a sustainable future, which is why there needs to be a concerted effort on the part of Government and its agencies, the public and private sectors, community bodies and individual speakers to promote its use in as many ways as possible.”

The plan also includes proposals for new Gaelic souvenir products to be sold at key sites.

A pilot project at Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness will see an increase in the prominence and use of the language.

Local heritage projects will also be supported in their use of Scots, Doric and Lallans.

The consultation is open until October 31.