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Scotland experiencing rise in tourism thanks to ‘Outlander’

ByFrankie Salvini

Feb 28, 2020

Reports this week in the BBC and elsewhere have highlighted the increasingly ‘booming’ tourism in Scotland, all thanks to the popular Outlander books and TV series.

The time-travelling drama, originally written by Diana Gabaldon, set partly in the 18th century has been a huge hit with viewers with a loyal fanbase.

Filmed on location in Scotland, sites such as Doune Castle in recent years have seen visitor numbers rise by 200% through related tourism.

Small businesses close to filming locations have also seen a boost in tourism.

However, as with most related tourism issues have also been brought to the doorsteps of such rural locations.

Roads not built for capacity, as well as overtrodden and thus dangerous ground have raised serious concerns over the ability of such sites to cope with this large influx.

Particularly concerning has been the rise of souvenir hunters with parts of landscapes being taken away as ‘tokens’.

The Telegraph reported Gabaldon’s comments on the issue ahead of the show’s airing of it’s fifth series,
“We are very privileged to be able to use a lot of Scottish locations for the filming. They are not film sets. They should be respected.”

Such tourism is certainly not new to Scotland. Edinburgh itself is awash with gift shops and tours based on its reputation as the ‘Birthplace of Harry Potter’, the immensely successful book and film series.

J.K. Rowling first began writing the novels in the Elephant House Cafe, now a popular landmark.

With criticism over the use of Greyfriars Kirkyard as a pilgrimage for Harry Potter fans and continuous streams of pop-up bars, shops and expensive memorabilia, there is undeniably a link here to this form of tourism.

Earlier this month, Sam Heughan, star of Outlander, suggested in an interview that Scotland had actually failed to fully capitalise on the “Outlander Effect”.

He said, “I think Scotland was actually kind of unaware of what’s been happening here for many years, I think we were under the radar a little bit.

“…there’s so many now unofficial Outlander tours, there’s vast tourism here, so I think people are really realising and the Scottish government as well.

“But they’re maybe a little late to it, but it’s certainly doing great things for Scotland.”

With these recent reports of both the highlight and lowlights of this “Effect”, it will remain to be seen whether Scotland chooses to ‘capitalise’ on the success.

Image: TheVampire via Wikipedia