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Historic sites celebrate ‘Outlander effect’ visitor surge

Posted: 3rd July 2017

Scottish historic sites are feeling the ‘Outlander effect’ as they celebrate a significant surge in visitor numbers.

The start of the summer season 2017 has seen sites in the care of Historic Environment Scotland which have a starring role in the hit TV series record dramatic increases in footfall from the same period last year.

Blackness Castle – which features in the series as the stand in for Fort William – has seen the most significant rise in visitors, up 72% for the period 1st April to 25th June 2017.

Doune Castle, famed for its role as the fictional Castle Leoch, recorded an impressive 50% increase for the same period.

Other sites which recorded increased visitor numbers after making a cameo appearance in the series include:

• Aberdour Castle 58% increase
• Linlithgow Palace 43% increase
• Glasgow Cathedral 39% increase

The announcement comes as the historical time-travel drama series made its UK terrestrial television debut this week.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, who manage 300 Historic Scotland visitor attractions, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this boost in visitor numbers as we continue to celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“This is an excellent return on the investment we have made across our estate. At Doune Castle, for example, after upgrading the visitor and retail offering, we have seen retail income increase 62% for the year to date.

“Featuring in Outlander has opened up our sites to a whole new audience, inspiring more and more visitors to come and discover the history behind these places, further demonstrating the enduring value and significance of heritage attractions in Scotland.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “It’s fantastic to see that the international success of Outlander continues to draw visitors from around the world to visit treasured heritage sites like Doune Castle and Blackness Castle and find out more about Scotland’s rich history and fascinating heritage.

“The TV drama showcases Scotland to international audiences and has helped strengthen the growth we’re seeing in tourism from overseas. I’m delighted Scottish and UK audiences will now be able to watch Outlander on terrestrial TV, and look forward to seeing the impact on visitor numbers to the heritage sites that provide the stunning backdrop to the series.”

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