Highlands & Islands

National Parks in Cairngorms and Loch Lomond bring in £243m

Image caption The Cairngorms National Park attracts 570,000 UK and Ireland visitors a year

The importance of domestic tourists to Scotland's national parks has been revealed in a new report.

Cairngorms and the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Parks bring in more than one million UK and Ireland visitors annually.

The parks contributed £243m to the country's economy - an increase of 25% on the previous year.

Details have been published to coincide with the start of National Parks Week which runs from 29 July - 4 August.

The research by VisitScotland is contained in The Scottish National Parks Sector Review: 2012.

The Cairngorms National Park accounted for 570,000 visitors while Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park generated a further 482,000.

The report gives a detailed insight into the habits of the parks' visitors, their favourite activities such as sightseeing and rambling, and where they come from.

'Treasured idylls'

Loch Lomond welcomes the most Germans while the Cairngorms is a favourite with visitors from the USA.

Image caption Loch Lomond & The Trossachs brings in 482,000 UK and Ireland visitors

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland and former convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: "Our two National Parks play a vital role in the Scottish tourism economy, and our domestic visitors contribute hugely to this.

"This year's celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland have provided a fantastic opportunity to promote these treasured idylls, and we hope that these tremendous figures will grow even further."

Cairngorms National Park is more than twice the size of the Lake District and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It includes five of Scotland's six highest mountains.

Grant Moir, chief executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, added: "The Cairngorms National Park is an outstanding holiday destination and with the weather we've had recently, why go anywhere else?"

Fiona Logan, chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: "These latest visitor figures are a credit, not only to the stunning natural beauty of our National Parks, but also to the quality service provided by our tourism businesses."

The tourism industry is estimated to contribute £11bn to the Scottish economy every year.

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