61 Million Tourists Descend upon Scotland's Popular Attractions in 2023

Monday, March 4, 2024

Last year, Scotland welcomed a substantial influx of tourists as attractions reported a combined total of 61,041,009 visits, marking an impressive increase of 7,527,801 since the previous year.

According to recent reports from The Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University and ASVA, free attractions welcomed approximately 30,605,269 visitors in total, marking a notable rise of 4,354,960.

The sector experienced a noteworthy rebound as the number of visitors to paid-for attractions surged by 19.2%, reaching a record-breaking 18,080,369.

Edinburgh Castle continued its reign as Scotland's most popular paid attraction, welcoming a remarkable 41.5% increase in visitors last year, with a total of 1,904,723.

The National Museum of Scotland solidified its position as the top free attraction, boasting an attendance growth of 10.8%, totaling 2,186,841 visitors.

The National Galleries of Scotland welcomed an impressive 1,836,057 visitors last year, a notable rise of 43.8%. Similarly, St Giles Cathedral and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum reported growth of 37.6% and 32.2%, respectively.

"Despite many headwinds experienced by businesses and consumers, visitor numbers have been robust. The overall performance is very positive." Chris Greenwood

Banksy's first exhibition in 14 years contributed to the surge in popularity at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art, with visitor numbers rising by an impressive 60.4% since 2022, reaching a total of 510,936.

People visited The Royal Yacht Britannia in 2023, marking a notable 51.1% rise compared to previous years.

Chris Greenwood, senior research fellow at the Moffat Centre, expressed his optimism about the sector's resilience despite facing numerous challenges, stating: "Visitor numbers have remained strong, yielding a very encouraging result."

A comprehensive report on Scotland's visitor attractions was compiled with data from a record-breaking 616 attractions.

Michael Golding, ASVA's chief executive, emphasized the crucial role of providing exceptional experiences for visitors as a driving factor in the sector's recovery: "Our unwavering commitment to delivering remarkable experiences has been essential."