SCOTLAND’S TOURISM industry has been given a major boost after the country was named the world’s best place to visit in 2013.
CNN Travel named Scotland as its Top Travel Destination because of its “dramatic scenery” and plethora of events scheduled for this year.
Despite the Scottish Government spending £7 million on an advertising campaign based on last year’s Pixar movie Brave, it is the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, that the cable news channel believes will inspire tourists to travel to Scotland.
CNN said: “Scotland has seen fit to dub 2013 the Year of Natural Scotland and what better time to do it?
“Anyone who saw the 2012 James Bond thriller Skyfall walked away wishing they too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside and hide out in its misty Highlands.
“More independent-minded trekkers will find 2013 a good year to tackle part of Scotland’s Great Trails, a network of long-distance routes across the country.
“The entire length of the country all 750 kilometres of it can be walked via the recently-announced Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail. The trail, which runs from the English border to Cape Wrath, travels past pristine lochs and haunting glens as it follows mainly existing routes, such as the West Highland Way and Rob Roy Way.”
Other destinations on CNN’s list of must-see destinations include Morocco, Slovakia, Amsterdam and sub-Saharan Africa.
The accolade came a day after Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf unveiled a list of Scotland’s 10 must-see attractions.
These included the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, the RRS Discovery and Polar Collection in Dundee as well as Dundee Heritage Trust’s jute collections.
Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland regional director for Angus and Dundee, said: “This is a tremendous accolade for the whole of Scotland and what a great way to start the new year.”
He added that 2013 will be a “massive year for Scotland and, of course, Perthshire and Angus and Dundee with a plethora of things to see and do and a host of events to participate in across the country, all under the banner of Year of Natural Scotland”.
“Undoubtedly the global success of Brave and the awe-inspiring images of Scotland in Skyfall will have whetted the appetite of many potential visitors from home and around the world. Now is the ideal time to see exactly what Scotland has to offer and visit.”
He added that next year will be even more important for tourism in Scotland. The industry is already worth around £11 billion to the Scottish economy each year.
“Momentum is building ahead of 2014 where Perthshire will welcome the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and, of course, Scotland’s second Homecoming,” he said.
“Endorsements such as this really help to secure Scotland’s position prominently on the tourism map.”
Other blockbuster movies filmed recently in Scotland include the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises and the forthcoming Brad Pitt zombie thriller World War Z.
SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “Our combination of natural beauty as well as increased number of air routes direct to Scotland and the fantastic events of the Year of Natural Scotland have given Scotland even more appeal as a place to take a great holiday this year.”