Big rise in Outer Hebrides tourism

Luskentyre beach Many of those surveyed said they visited beaches and coastal areas on their trips

The number of people visiting the Outer Hebrides has risen by 27% over the past six years, according to a study.

The Islands Visitor Survey said more than 218,000 people visited the isles and spent more than £53.5m between October 2012 and September 2013.

Some 87% of visitors said they were very satisfied with their stay, with a further 11% saying they had been "fairly satisfied".

In 2006, a similar study reported 171,137 people visited the islands.

The Northern Isles also benefited from high numbers of overnight and day visitors.

Start Quote

It is very reassuring to see that satisfaction levels are so high”

End Quote Alasdair Macleod Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Shetland attracted 64,655 visitors and a total spend of £16m, while Orkney's 142,816 visitors spent a total of more than £31m.

The main influence on visitors when booking a trip to the Western Isles last year was the scenery and landscape, according to the survey.

Just under half of those who visited the islands had been before.

Of those surveyed, 74% spent their time visiting beaches and coastal scenery.

One noticeable area of change from the previous survey was that 41% of visitors shared their experiences online during and after their trip, with almost a third uploading photos of their visit to social media sites.

The research was commissioned by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, who have all welcomed the results.

Alasdair Macleod, chairman of the comhairle's sustainable development committee, said: "It is very reassuring to see that satisfaction levels are so high and that the vast majority of visitors would recommend the Outer Hebrides as a holiday destination to their friends and relatives."

Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland's island manger, added: "Tourism is a key driver to the economy of the Outer Hebrides and these results illustrate how resilient and sustainable the industry is in the long term.

"We are delighted to see growth in both visitor numbers and satisfaction particularly during the challenging economic climate."

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said the results of the survey were "fantastic".

He added: "With beautiful scenery, rich history and diverse culture it's no surprise that Scotland's islands are attracting more visitors and encouraging them to spend more and stay longer."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Highlands & Islands

Weather

Inverness

15 °C 12 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain


  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'


  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?


  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets

Programmes

  • European Union's anti-terrorism chief Gilles de KerchoveHARDtalk Watch

    Anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on the threat from returning Islamic State fighters

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.