The great outdoors
Wild, unspoiled spaces and dramatic scenery are just some of the reasons why Scotland is famed the world over for its other outdoor activities; hill walking, skiing and extreme sports.
The country is also becoming a top destination for mountain biking, and was recently named as ‘one of the hottest places to ride in the world’, by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
Country activities include fishing, hunting, shooting and deer stalking on estates, many of which are hundreds of years old. Scotland also draws wildlife watchers – with the chance to view rare species such as eagles and ospreys, and boat trips to see dolphins and whales.
Scotland is known internationally as the Home of Golf and plays regular host to the Open Championship. Six centuries of tradition mean no other destination can offer such a unique experience with world renowned championship courses including the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon and Turnberry, as well as marvellous parkland courses such as Gleneagles and many other hidden gems, such as Castle Stuart and Macrihannish Dunes.
Many visitors come to Scotland to follow in the footsteps of great historical figures such as Robert Burns, William Wallace (Braveheart), Rob Roy, Mary Queen of Scots and Andrew Carnegie.
Some also visit to trace their own family history. Around 50 million people claim to have direct Scottish ancestry and it is anticipated that the number of ancestral tourists to Scotland could increase from the current estimate of 200,000 to as many as 800,000 annual trips.
History and heritage Scotland’s heritage is brought back to life at many of its historical landmarks including ancient castles, battlefields and whisky trails. With traditions over 500 years old, whisky is a core part of this heritage.
Scotland is at the forefront of ecofriendly tourism and is attracting a growing number of visitors who are environmentally aware, drawn by the country’s scenery and natural environment.
Ongoing investment in renewable energy means that tourism businesses can develop and manage their operations on an environmentally sensitive basis, subscribing to the principles of environmental tourism.
With all-year-round festivals across the country, world-famous acts, shows and special events with a global reach such as the acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival, wonderful shopping experiences, excellent dining and fresh local food - these are just a fraction of what Scotland has to offer and why repeat visitor rates are so high.