Scotland’s 2015 Year of Food and Drink appears to have contributed to a 7 per cent spike in visitor numbers.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of overseas and domestic visitors credited the quality of food as an important factor for their choice of destination in Scotland, according to figures published by the Office of National Statistics and VisitScotland.
Last year alone, more than 1,000 tourism businesses received the Taste Our Best accreditation, recognising quality food of Scottish provenance.
Visitor numbers in the colder months rose from 4.7 million trips between October 2008 and March 2009 to 5.7 million in the same period in 2014-15, with the industry adapting accordingly.
Analysis from the Scottish Government in 2015 found the food and drink sector enjoyed a £550 million rise in turnover year on year and a staggering 24 per cent increase since 2008.
This means the sector is on track to meet the a turnover target of £16.5 billion by 2017.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish tourism industry has finished 2015 on a high. Bolstered by a hugely successful Year of Food and Drink, businesses have continued to build on past successes, increasing the number of visitors from Europe, America and from crucial domestic markets.
Happy New Year to everyone and here’s for another great Food & Drink year in 2016!