The tourism trade has been boosted by new figures showing increasing numbers of overseas visitors are spending more in Scotland.

The number of foreign visitors coming to Scotland rose to 2.5 million in the year ending March 2014 - up from under 2.2 million the previous year.

The data, from the Office for National Statistics, also shows spending by tourists was up from £1.4 billion in the year ending March 2013 to £1.6 billion the following year

Scottish Government minister Derek Mackay said the figures show that "despite operating in a challenging environment, our tourism industry has worked hard to make Scotland a destination offering quality experiences for visitors".

He added: "There is a huge demand from long-haul tourists for holidaying in Scotland and they are clearly prepared to spend their money in our hotels, tourism attractions and restaurants."

He said 2014 is the year "Scotland welcomes the world", adding that hosting events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the MTV Europe Awards are "putting our country on the international stage".

He added: "The people who work in the tourism industry deserve plaudits. They act as the nation's standard bearers, their drive and commitment is delivering results and providing a memorable visitor experience for Scotland's guests.

"As we look forward to the Commonwealth Games and the arrival of visitors from the world over, tourism in Scotland is ready to shine on the international stage."