IT'S OUT with old-fashioned kilts, lumpy hostel beds, stale shortbread, tartan tammies and staid coach tours and in with high Highland fashion, boutique hostels, yoga retreats and adventure activities – from swimming with sharks to land yachting. Scotland is revamping its tourist industry to attract an increasing number of overseas Millennials, with a growing number of providers now determined to do things differently.

Figures from VisitScotland, the national tourist board, show that almost one million trips to Scotland were made by 16-34 year olds from overseas in 2016, a figure that has grown steadily in the last five years with just 733,000 trips made in 2012. It is claimed that the trend is supported by an increasingly diverse offer of accommodation – everything from converted helicopters and railway carriages to yurts and tree houses, appealing particularly to younger audiences seeking unique experiences and keen to document them on Instagram.

While many younger visitors are happy to keep things simple with hikes in nature, an increasing number are taking part in adrenaline-rush sports from mountain biking to kayaking.

VisitScotland is now planning to use Scotland's Year of Young People in 2018 as a hook to lure yet more twenty and early thirty-somethings (also known as generation Y) to Scotland, securing an advertising partnership with E4.

Professor John Lennon, director of Glasgow Caledonian University's Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business, claims Scotland is "riding the crest of a wave", attracting record tourist numbers this summer, tempted by low exchange rates and the perceived low risk in terms of terror attacks.

But for Millennials he maintains the focus is different with younger tourists looking for one-off experiences and taking a pick-and-mix approach to travel, alternating between luxury and low-budget options and mixing it up with unusual experiences and off-the-beaten track destinations.

"It's not the end of whisky, tartan and golf, they have given Scottish tourism an identity that many other destinations would kill for but it's about taking those ideas and flipping them," he said. "The coach tours that appeal to the 55+ market are not going to appeal to Millennials, nor is the lecture given at the distillery. Instead they might offer whisky cocktail making, for example. It's about making them part of the experience.

"This is a demographic that get their data from handheld devices, they photograph everything and post it to their Instagram feed and Twitter. It is a digital market and as such there has never been so much transparency. What they experience they will share."

Shane Wasik, owner of Basking Shark Scotland, which offers boat tours and opportunities to swim with basking sharks and seals and get up close to puffins, said that people were often amazed by what Scotland had to offer. "I think we are seeing more tourists who might once have gone to Australia or New Zealand and are now realising they can experience the great outdoors a bit closer to home. We see people who are looking for adventure. The [tourism] image is still a bit shortbread tin but I think the message is gradually getting out there that Scotland is much more than that. It is far more youth focussed."

Guy MacKenzie, owner of Blown Away, which specialises in land yachting on St Andrews beach agreed. "We've seen an increasing number of younger Americans, partly due to the low pound and also due to the new flight from Edinburgh to New York which a lot of them have been on," he said. "People do still want castles and historic tours, but they also want something different that they can't do elsewhere."

Maria Lezama, 24 from Connecticut, who is on her first trip to Scotland and is currently staying in the Cowshed Hostel in Skye, is typical of the new breed of Millennial tourist. She spent a week in Ireland before taking the ferry to Scotland to meet a friend she met in South Africa for a reunion. Other places on her itinerary include Inverness, Arisaig and Edinburgh.

She came to experience the Scottish mountains and has fallen in love with the lush, green landscape. "I love the live music too," she said. "You don't get that at home. You can walk into a bar and there are people of all ages there. I think Scotland has something to offer everyone."

The Cowshed Hostel opened two years ago as part of a new wave that is a million miles away from the old school, multi-bed dormitories. Specially-built contemporary bunks have curtains and a built-in reading light, glamping pods are onsite and the centrepiece of the open-plan lounge and kitchen is a wood burning stove where people gather to socialise in the evenings.

"We get huge numbers of young people visiting us in Skye, everything from young couples to students," said manager Jackie Gillie, agreeing the traditional image of Scotland was "old-fashioned, sort of over-priced and bad value", a view she wants to challenge.

Laura Grace, manager of the Eco Yoga Centre in Argyll, concurred that young people were no longer happy to put up with accommodation offering a badly-boiled egg and an erratic electric shower. Here the artisan beds have deluxe mattresses and four pillows each. Although meals and social spaces are communal, guests can get away to their private rooms or take one of the outdoor baths set in lush scenery. There is also a yoga studio, an underground sauna and everything is powered by the hydro power station.

It's part of a growing interest in "well-being tourism", with an increasing number of retreats popping up in remote and beautiful locations across Scotland. Katrina Mather, founder of the Body Toolkit retreat in Lochaber has seen a "significant increase" in the number of younger Europeans looking to "detox and de-stress". A typical day at her retreats involves a detox diet of juice and soup, beauty treatments including skin brushing and walks in the hills.

"Just spending time in this part of the Highlands is therapeutic and good for the soul, regardless of the season or what the weather is doing," she said. "For so many stressed-out Europeans it’s incredibly restorative to spend the week surrounded by unspoilt nature, and temperamental wi-fi."

Other twists on the Scottish tourist classics of tartan and whisky include Prickly Thistle, a company which works with clients to create their own tartans as well as running fashion label the Naked Highlander. Founder Clare Campbell, who has also witnessed the boom in overseas Millennials, says the appeal is taking a classic and "tearing up the rules". Craft whisky distilleries from Eden Mill to Kingsbarns are following suit.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, claims Scotland's profile had been boosted by major events such as the Commonwealth Games and accolades such as being voted the most beautiful country in the world by Rough Guides.

"Scotland’s star is rising and now, more than ever, younger travellers are aware of who we are and what we can offer," he said. "If they want unique and authentic experiences then we have them in abundance."