Scotland enjoyed a record-breaking year with visits and spending by overseas tourists at its highest level on record.
Overseas tourists visiting Scotland rose by 16.9% to 3.2 million, while expenditure increased by 23% to £2.3 billion, according to the ONS Travel Trends 2017 statistics.
European visitors made 1.9 million visits to Scotland, up by 17% from 2016, with spending rising by 36% to £1.1 billion. Compare this with the figures across the UK as a whole, where the number of European visitors increased by 1% and spending fell by 1%.
The ONS report suggested a range of factors made Scotland an attractive place to visit in 2017, including events associated with the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the Outlander effect and VisitScotland digital activity.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “These outstanding results show that Scotland can compete on a global stage. Using our unrivalled beauty, rich history, pioneering partnerships and innovative thinking we are communicating with visitors from every corner of the world.
“Groundbreaking apps, creative digital campaigns and inspirational content means we can reach visitors and potential visitors at every step of their journey, informing the visitors of today and inspiring the visitors of tomorrow.
“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth.”