Scottish tourism sees the impact of Outlander’s international success.
New figures released today show a surge of visitors to a Scottish castle following the first season of the Outlander TV Series.
The figures have been announced by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, while in New York for Scotland Week.
Doune Castle has enjoyed a rise in visitor numbers following the opening season. Figures from Historic Scotland show year-on-year visitor numbers to the castle in Stirlingshire have grown by 30.2% to 49,553 in 2014-15.
Historic Scotland facilitated filming at the location in 2013 which stands in for the fictional Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan MacKenzie, where the novels and TV series is set.
The Outlander series has been shown in the US, Canada and Australia since August last year and recently became available to viewers in the UK on Amazon Prime (on 26 March 2015). It will be shown in Germany from May.
Visits to the Outlander microsite of the VisitScotland website, launched to coincide with the series starting in August now sit at 98,000, with over 160,000 unique page views.
Grand Marshall Graham McTavish, who plays Dougal Mackenzie in the show, will lead the 17th annual Tartan Day Parade along the Avenue of the Americas in New York on Saturday 11 April.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, 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.”
The Culture and External Affairs Secretary will travel to New York and Los Angeles for Scotland Week, attending a series of business, tourism, cultural and film industry engagements designed to build on our cultural connections, promote our creative sector and drive jobs and encourage further investment to Scotland.
Ms Hyslop’s programme includes engagements with representatives of Warner Bros and Lionsgate in LA, the film studios behind box office hits such as the Hunger Games, Twilight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown will travel to Toronto and New York to take part in talks to develop new air routes, highlight Scotland as a world class cultural destination, promote our food and drink sector and meet businesses who have invested in Scotland to explore opportunities for further expansion.
Both Cabinet Secretaries will meet with industry-leading businesses including Dupont Teijin Films, Assembly Bioscience, Oceana, COM DEV International, Cooke Aquaculture and Air Canada Rouge.