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28 February 2017

Trio of castles prove popular with the public

The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) publish 2016 Visitor Trends Report

Visitor at Urquhart Castle with the loch behind her

Three of Scotland’s most iconic strongholds – Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles – are among the top 20 most visited attractions in the country.

The news comes as the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) has today – Tuesday 28 February – announced that visits to its member sites rose for the third year running.

ASVA gathered information from 240 of its member sites for its annual Visitor Trends Report, which confirms that over 27 million visits were made in 2016 – a rise of 6.9% on last year. This year’s figures mark three back-to-back records with a 3.4% rise in 2015, which followed a 6% rise in 2014, signalling that visitor attractions in Scotland are currently enjoying a period of sustained growth.

Collectively Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles welcomed 280,784 more visitors in 2016 than in the previous year, with the heritage attractions recording a year-on-year increase in footfall of 13%, 6% and 13%, respectively.

Attractions throughout the Scottish capital experienced high level of visitors, with eleven of the top 20 sites located in the city, with Edinburgh Castle once again topping the leader board as the most popular paid for attraction.

Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Environment Scotland and ASVA Board Member, Susan Loch, said: “These latest figures released by ASVA clearly demonstrate the continued draw of Scotland’s heritage attractions, which form an important part of the country’s wider tourism offering.

Together Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, which feature in ASVA’s top 20, all saw a significant increase in footfall. Staff at these sites welcomed over 280,000 more visitors than the same period last year – a fantastic year-on-year record.”

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners.

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