By Kirsty Topping
VISITOR numbers to the Royal Yacht Britannia have surged thanks to the
“Will and Kate effect.”
Following the Royal wedding in April record numbers of tourists have flocked to the Edinburgh attraction, with an increase of 28% this month alone.
Many are keen to see where the Prince, who’s second in line to the throne, spend holidays during his youth.
The venue typically attracts around 250,000 per year, but in the wake of the Royal Wedding that figure is expected to be far higher this year.
The trust which operated the vessel said numbers had reached an
“incredible’ peak this month.
The attraction revealed it has had 74,000 visitors in the last three months and that many people were visiting the gift shop for Royal Wedding souvenirs.
A postcard bearing an image of Prince William and his new bride in an open top carriage has become their fastest selling postcard ever and one of the top gifts is a blue tea towel featuring the entwined letters C and W topped by a crown, which it sells for 7.95.
A 295 China dish, which was limited edition of 500, has been sold and is no longer available
Sonia Lee, Head of Retail, said: “There’s been incredible warmth since the Royal Wedding. I think it’s brought people together and it’s definitely acted as a catalyst for our sales.
“Over the last three months it’s been amazing, sales have rocketed withnearly every customer purchasing a Royal Wedding item.
‘A lot of people can relate to Kate Middleton and I feel our customers reflect this, it’s not just royalists who come in any more, it’s younger and chattier customers, and it’s like some are obsessed. You hear them saying to other customers, ‘Do you have this yet or do you have that yet’ and it’s so great to see.”
The 400 feet yacht, which was launched in 1953 and decommissioned in 1997, is where Prince William spent many childhood holidays and he features in many of the family photographs which can still be seen on board.
Lynda Dalgleish, head of visitor experience at the yacht, said:
“The Royal Yacht Britannia is a wonderful asset for Edinburgh and in this Royal Wedding year visitors are more eager than ever to be able to experience what life was like on board her majesty’s floating palace. “
Manuela Calchini, director for VisitScotland in Edinburgh and the Lothians, said:
“We are delighted to hear the Royal Yacht Britannia’s visitor numbers are up due to the recent publicity surrounding the Royal family.
“We are looking forward to welcoming them to Edinburgh in July as events such as the Royal Wedding do attract interest from a worldwide audience and visitors to our wonderful city will be able to enjoy high-quality visitor attractions with a royal connection such as Royal Yacht Britannia.
“VisitScotland has been including promotion of Royal Scotland in much of our online marketing activity over the last few months. “
However, tourists at the attraction today (tues) remained unconvinced of the pulling power of the wedding.
Tomas, a tourist from Sweden, was visiting the yacht with his wife and two children. He said:
“It nothing to do with Kate and William, we would have come anyway. We just really like the Royal family. “
Mary, visiting from Northern Ireland with her husband Brian, said:
“The Royal family interests me in general. I love everything about them and I’ve visited a few places across Edinburgh, including Holyrood. I wouldn’t say it was the Royal Wedding specifically but it’s a big part of why we came to the Royal Yacht Britannia. “
Since the couple, who met while studying at St Andrews university, married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, Royal fever has spread across the world, including the US which the couple are due to visit at the end of the month.
Popular parts of the attraction include the state apartments, Charles and Dianna’s honeymoon suite, the sun lounge and the crew’s quarters.