Loch Ness by Jacobite and neighbouring Urquhart Castle have taken the top two spots for ‘paid’ attractions in Scotland outside the central belt.
The information has come from new data from the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA).
The results mark a spate of recent success for Loch Ness by Jacobite, including welcoming a record-breaking 315,000 visitors to the loch in 2018. The results – a growth of 9 per cent from 2017 – buck the national average growth, which has stagnated at 0.1 per cent.
The success adds to the cruise tour operator and Urquhart Castle, along with Glenfinnan Monument, the only Highland attractions to appear on the Top 10 List of Most Visited Attractions in Scotland in 2017, which was revealed by the Scottish Government in December using data from the Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Loch Ness by Jacobite managing director Freda Newton MBE said: ‘It’s been an incredible year at Loch Ness, with a record-breaking number of visitors to the loch as well as the launch of our new vessel, the Jacobite Maverick. We welcomed guests from 89 different nationalities, which highlights the international appeal of the area.
‘The summer is shaping up to be an exciting one for Loch Ness by Jacobite, with new flight routes into Inverness Airport and the opening of our retail destination and café in Dochgarroch at the end of May meaning we can only expect this growth to continue.’
Euan Fraser, Urquhart Castle business and hub manager, said: ‘In 2018, we welcomed a record-breaking 518,195 visitors to Urquhart Castle. This is the first time we have received more than 500,000 visitors in a calendar year.
‘The appeal of the Highlands reaches far and wide – from local Scots to international tourists – and the rise in visitor numbers across the region demonstrates the increased interest in the beautiful landscapes, history, and heritage that makes the Highlands a unique place to visit.’
For more information on Loch Ness by Jacobite, visit www.jacobite.co.uk.