Scottish history sparks tourism rise

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

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Scotland is capitalising on the booming demand from international tourists who wish to explore the country’s history and heritage, Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed today.

Edinburgh-based Mercat Tours reported record turnover and footfall in 2016 with a 35 per cent increase in history walking tours of the capital in December, compared to the previous year.

To satisfy demand, the company has increased staffing and now employs an international team from ten countries offering tours in Spanish, French and German.

VisitScotland’s 2015 visitor survey also found that Scotland’s history motivated 32 per cent of international visitors to travel to Scotland.

Speaking ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the themed Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland inspires and captivates the imagination of international visitors through our history, heritage and archaeology.

“Evidence of our history is etched in our landscape, from surviving Neolithic tombs and homes, to carved stones, to medieval castles, renaissance palaces and some of the finest surviving Georgian urban-planning anywhere in the world.

“With an estimated 50 million people worldwide claiming Scottish ancestry, attracting visitors to Scotland to experience our country’s history is a growing and important market.”

Managing Director of Mercat Tours Kathleen Brogan said: “We believe it is simple – with a warm welcome we keep the traditional art of storytelling alive, whilst making memories that endure long after visitors return home.

“With world-famous heritage, and a reputation as a safe, high-quality destination, Edinburgh continues to appeal to international visitors.

“We are delighted to be securing jobs for our team through sustainable growth and investment in our first class, five star experience.”