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06 March, 2014

Year of Natural Scotland boost for visitor numbers

Reports this week of increased visits to Scotland’s outdoor attractions have been welcomed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) given the special focus on our nature and landscape during the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) revealed that visits to Scotland’s attractions rose by 5% overall between 2012 and 2013, while visits to outdoor attractions saw a boost of 8%.

Ian Ross, SNH chairman, said: “Scotland’s nature and landscape is a huge attraction for visitors, making an important contribution to our economy. The Year of Natural Scotland campaign was all about getting people, from home and abroad, enjoying Scotland’s nature and reaping the associated physical and mental benefits. The celebrations, together with some fine weather and James Bond’s homecoming in the film Skyfall, appear to have had a very positive influence on many people and helped promote our outstanding natural environment.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “We enjoyed some fabulous weather last summer which resulted in a lot of people getting out and about to our stunning beaches, landscapes and parks, making the most of the Year of Natural Scotland. These ‘natural’ attractions are not recorded in this list, but are of course an integral part of the allure of Scotland.”

A wide range of partners worked with SNH and VisitScotland on projects aimed at encouraging people to explore the country’s nature and landscapes during Year of Natural Scotland. These included numerous events and festivals providing opportunities for people to experience nature through a creative perspective; and a trio of free-to-use apps, such as View from the Train which informed travelers about the natural heritage along some of Scotland’s main rail routes. Scotland’s Big 5 campaign encouraged people to head out to National Nature Reserves and other special sites in search of our fantastic wildlife; and new social media channels enabled people young and old to share their outdoor experiences.

One of the highest increases to outdoor attractions in Scotland saw 114,298 people visit spectacular Glencoe, up 41.7% from the previous year. This beautiful location played a starring role in the climax to Skyfall. More than 60 films have used Scotland’s landscapes as an impressive backdrop, including the Harry Potter series and three other James Bond films.

Scotland’s natural environment attracts millions of visitors each year. In 2011 Scottish adults made 360 million visits to the outdoors for recreation, generating £2.7 billion in expenditure.


Contact information

Dominic Shann
Job Title
Media Relations Officer
01463 725157

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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