SCOTTISH tour companies have seen a surge in American visitors since TV series Outlander became a hit in the United States, tourist officials have said.


The £50 million hit show is set to be premiered in the UK with a special joint-screening of the first episode in Glasgow and London today.

VisitScotland has been doing marketing activity around Outlander in the US since last summer and has further activity planned for Germany and the UK.

The Outlander section on has been viewed more than 175,000 times since last August and various tour companies have reported increased bookings on specialised tours.

Borders-based Scottish Clans and Castles has been running Outlander tours to various locations featured in American author Diana Gabaldon's bestselling books since 2006.

Since the television series first aired in the United States last year, owner Alastair Cunningham has seen a rise of 500 per cent in his company's Outlander tours, with the vast majority coming from overseas.

Mr Cunningham said: "The television series has made a huge difference to visitor numbers.

"Their interest in Scotland comes from the books or the television series, but when they get here and see places like Culloden and Skye for themselves, they find that the country exceeds their expectations."

Outlander finally hits screens in Scotland

Next month, Mercat Tours launches its Edinburgh Outlander Experience, which takes in the Canongate Kirk and the World's End tavern, while Burning the Claire and Jamie Trail, an Outlander-themed tour operated by Edinburgh-based Rabbie's Trail Burners, has taken bookings for six full bus tours to Inverness and Castle Doune departing this summer.

Yvonne Wagoun, director of business development at Rabbie's, said: "It is proving so popular, particularly among the North American market, that we are looking to increase the number of departures next year.

"Most of the bookings we have to date are from the US and Canada and some from Australia."

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: "Scotland is the land that inspired Outlander and it is great to see the television series has already had such a positive impact on Scottish tourism.

"With 40 per cent of visitors to the UK inspired to come here after seeing a location on film or on television, a major TV series being shot on location in Scotland carries huge potential benefits for the tourism industry.

"We expect the series being shown in the UK for the first time this week will inspire potential visitors in the domestic market."

The Sony Pictures Television production, which was filmed in a studio in Cumbernauld and on location at Doune Castle and Culross will be available on streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video from Thursday.

Amazon will also host a special screening of the first episode for fans in Glasgow tonight at the Grosvenor cinema which will have a live link with the London premiere.