CNN votes Scotland “Top tourist destination for 2013”

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cnn  By a Newsnet reporter

US Cable news channel CNN has voted Scotland as the number one tourist destination for 2013 and the ”Year of Natural Scotland” is given as a major reason to visit.

Putting Scotland at the top of the list of World travel destinations, they have reached their conclusion after taking a number of factors into account including – bargains available , big ‘significant’ events, airline routes and accessibility, the range of hotels and new hotel openings.

Scotland emerges as top of the ‘hot seven’ places in the World to visit next year ahead of places like Morocco, Sub-Saharan Africa and Amsterdam.

Tourism chiefs described it is a “tremendous accolade” and a great start to 2013.

Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: “Undoubtedly the global success of Brave and the awe-inspiring images of Scotland in Skyfall will have whetted the appetite of many potential visitors from home and around the world. Throughout 2013 we must capitalise on this success and position the majesty and magnificence of naturalScotland on the world stage.

“Despite the tough economic environment, momentum is building ahead of 2014 where we will welcome the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and of courseScotland’s second Homecoming. Endorsements such as this really help to secure Scotland’s leading position on the global tourism map as a must-see destination.”

Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan An Iar commented:

” It is great news that one of the World’s biggest news networks nominates Scotland as the number one tourist hot spot this year .

“Our combination of narural beauty as well as increased number of air routes direct to Scotland and the fantatsic events of the ‘Year of Natural Scotland have given Scotland even more appeal as a place to take a great holiday this year.

“Whether it is outdoor pursuits like walking and climbing or city break and visiting Scotland’s many cultural destinations – tourism is a major industry across the country from Shetland to the Solway shores.

“CNN are joining a long list who realise the potential of Scotland’s natural beauty, and add to that the recent exposure from movies like “Skyfall” which show off our magnificent scenery.”

CNN list events and special deals planned around the Year of Natural Scotland, highlights include:

    • the Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival 2013 (March 29-April 14);
    • the Heb Celt 2013 music festival (July 17-20);
    • the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (September 7-22);
    • and, of course, the Open Championship golf tournament (July 14-21).

They also highlight the great opportunties for trekking and walking , and that it is a good year to tackle part of Scotland’s Great Trails, a network of long-distance routes across the country.

The entire length of the country can be now walked on the recently-announced Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail. The trail, which runs from the English border to Cape Wrath, travels past famous lochs and haunting, iconic glens as it follows mainly existing routes, such as the West Highland Way and Rob Roy Way.

The Year of Natural Scotland is a Scottish government iniative to showcase the country’s scenery and natural heritage.