The number of tourists visiting Scotland has risen by 10% in the last year, according to new figures.

The 15.7 million overseas and domestic visitors spent more than £4.9 billion in the year to the end of March.

Data from the Office of National Statistics showed the majority of visitors from abroad continue to come from Europe, but there was an 31% increase in those travelling from North America.

The Scottish Government said the 10% rise in domestic visitors was set against a 2% decrease for Great Britain as a whole.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: "These figures are hugely encouraging for the Scottish tourism industry as we continue to outperform Great Britain as a whole.

"The rise in both visitors and expenditure show that Scotland is a destination that offers quality experiences and visitors are prepared to spend their money in our hotels, tourism attractions and restaurants.

"Recent figures show Homecoming 2014 generated £136 million of additional revenue to the Scottish economy and we are determined to build on this legacy through other themed years.

"The sustainable increase and expenditure in visitors from North America is hugely encouraging and owes much to the warmth of welcome of our people and our growing international reputation as a place to visit."

Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: "After the outstanding success of 2014, we are delighted to see that Scottish tourism is continuing to do exceptionally well during what is a very challenging economic time for many countries around the world.

"Overall, the statistics are good, and Scotland bucked the UK trend, but this positive first quarter is by no means a fait accompli for the year. We, as an industry, must work hard to ensure we stay ahead of the game."