The people of Scotland play a “vital” role in drawing visitors to the country, according to new research.
Landscape and scenery remained the number one reason why people visit the country, with history and culture second.
But Scotland’s reputation for friendly people was cited as a major draw in the survey produced by national tourism body VisitScotland.
It revealed the top five words used by visitors to describe people met were “friendly”, “helpful”, “welcoming”, “nice”‘ and “warm”.
The Scotland Visitor Survey, based on 5,947 one-to-one interviews conducted last summer, also showed 82% of visitors agreed that local people added to their holiday experience.
Climate also featured in the list of top reasons why visitors choose Scotland, with 5% travelling to Scottish shores to “enjoy the weather”.
Nine out of ten visitors said they would recommend Scotland as a holiday destination and just under half (45%) rated their holiday experience as 10 out of 10
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s people are its greatest asset, especially in an industry like tourism where – as this survey shows – our warm welcome, and friendly approach, have helped to define and enrich the experiences of thousands of visitors across the length and breadth of the country.
“The latest survey highlights the huge draw of Scotland’s jaw-dropping scenery, our vibrant culture and rich history while also confirming the important role that everybody, from those in the industry to passers-by in the street, plays in ensuring all our visitors leave with fond memories, having enjoyed their stay to the utmost.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, added: “Although our stunning scenery and unique history remain the biggest draws for visitors, from locals giving directions to tourists in the street to those working in the industry day to day, the people of Scotland play their own vital role in the success story of Scottish tourism.”