Tourists are flocking to Dundee’s new £80 million V&A museum as it’s revealed 130,000 people from outside Scotland have already visited since it opened just six months ago.
New statistics from the museum reveal 26% of visitors since the opening in September were from overseas or other countries in the UK.
The attraction has featured in an endless list of international magazines, newspapers and blogs over the past year and it seems tourists are showing a big interest in the City of Discovery.
It comes as it was revealed the building recording its 500,000th visitor on Saturday — almost six months earlier than expected.
It means the museum could potentially reach one million visits in its first year, with the summer season expected to see a further increase in numbers.
Lynne Short, convener of the council’s city development committee, said “more and more” people now see Dundee as an attractive destination.
She said: “As a city that is renowned for its academia having two world class universities it is no surprise that we are attracting so many visitors.
“As a tour guide I was frequently told that Edinburgh was a traveller’s favourite destination and I have seen more and more tour coaches coming over the bridge from St Andrews and visiting Dundee.
“The fact that we have an excellent hotel offering in the city now too means that the city is a great base for overnight stays before heading onto the wider region and all that offers.”
If the city’s new star attraction continues to draw in big crowds, it could soon rival some of the UK’s most popular sites and break into the top 40 most-visited.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, said: “V&A Dundee is a powerful symbol of Dundee’s new confidence and is not only raising the national and international profile of the city but is increasing Scotland’s attractiveness to tourists looking for world class cultural experiences.
“I congratulate those involved in making this such a valuable asset to Scotland in both cultural and economic terms and I look forward to seeing it continue to delight visitors for decades to come.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander also welcomed the figures.
He said:“This is great news for business in Dundee and the city as a whole and the momentum behind the V&A doesn’t to seem to be letting up.
“Fingers crossed foreign visitors are more likely to stay overnight and for longer and therefore the economic impact could be even greater.
“The cultural offering in the city continues to go from strength to strength, with a significant number of visitors also visiting the Discovery, McManus, DCA etc. We want the V&A effect to be spread across the city and to have a positive impact culturally, economically and socially.
“500,000 visitors shopping, buying, staying and enjoying our city has the potential to provide a big economic uplift.
“The V&A’s success is about more than visitor numbers, of course. It has transformed the perceptions of Dundee and has helped to persuade and attract business and investment. On the back of the V&A’s success, the city can succeed and we need to continue to support and promote this important asset.”
Director of V&A Dundee Philip Long added: “It has been an extraordinary opening period for V&A Dundee and the support from visitors has surpassed all expectations.
“As well as people locally and from across Scotland, we have also seen a large number of visitors from the rest of the UK and beyond visiting the new museum.
“Interest in V&A Dundee so far has been from around the world, and as we approach the summer season we are very much looking forward to welcoming a growing number of international visitors to Tayside and all it has to offer.”