Were you lusting after Scotland’s rugged natural beauty in last year’s box office smash hit, Skyfall? If you were, you’re not alone as Scotland has been named the top tourist destination of 2013 by American broadcasting network CNN following its high-profile appearance in last year’s record-breaking Bond film.
Pipping well-established holiday haunts Morocco and Amsterdam to pole position, the network chose the British highlands because, “Anyone who saw the 2012 James Bond thriller Skyfall walked away wishing they too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside and hide out in its misty highlands.
The feature – on CNN’s travel website – also quoted a number of outdoor events taking place as part of the Year of Natural Scotland, an initiative launched by the nation’s tourism industry VisitScotland. Highlights cited by the US team include the Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival 2013 (March 29-April 14); Heb Celt 2013 music festival (July 17-20); Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (September 7-22); and The Open Championship golf tournament (July 14-21).
The rugged, natural countryside – visited by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem – in the 23rd Bond release is also available to the visiting public via the recently announced Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail which leads intrepid walkers from the English border to Cape Wrath past stunning scenery made up of lochs, glens and picturesque countryside.
In response to the accolade VisitScotland chairman, Mike Cantlay, 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.
“Despite the tough economic environment, momentum is building ahead of 2014 where we will welcome the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and, of course, Scotland’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.”
In addition to recommending Scotland’s charms, the site named Rabat, Morocco in second place, with Košice in Slovakia completing the top three. Also recognised in the top five are Sub-Saharan Africa in fourth place, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in fifth.