AMERICAN broadcasting giant CNN has named Scotland as its top travel destination for 2013 – with the Scottish scenes in Skyfall cited as a big draw.
Scotland came ahead of Amsterdam and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania in CNN Travel’s list of “top travel destinations for 2013”, unveiled yesterday.
Some scenes in the October blockbuster were shot in Glencoe in the Highlands, with James Bond battling his nemesis on 007’s ancestral estate.
The article said people who saw the film would leave the cinema wishing “they too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside.”
Tourism chiefs said today the list was a “tremendous accolade for Scotland” with films Brave and Skyfall pulling in visitors from around the globe.
In CNN’s list of travel destinations, Scotland was followed by the Moroccan capital Rabat, the “captivating” Slovakian city of Kosice and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In fifth place was Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, site of a crucial battle in the American civil war, and set to be extremely popular with the release of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Abraham Lincoln film.
Amsterdam came sixth, with Vincent Van Gough’s 160th birthday taking place in the city this year, followed by the “magical” Colombia.
Montenegro, Miami, New Zealand and Japan were also mentioned as top travel destinations.
The CNN article said the scenes in the latest James Bond film left viewers wanting their own experience of the “misty highlands.”
It said: “Scotland has seen fit to dub 2013 the “Year of Natural Scotland,” and what better time to do it?
“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 (granted, while not being pursued by a homicidal [Javier Bardem]).”
The article also highlighted Scotland’s outdoor events taking place in 2013, mentioning the Open Championship in July and the Dumfries and Galloway Wildlife Festival, starting in March
Scotland’s beautiful countryside walks were also cited: “More independent-minded trekkers will find 2013 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 — all 750 kilometers of it — can be walked via the recently announced Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail.
“The trail, which runs from the English border to Cape Wrath, travels past pristine lochs and haunting glens as it follows mainly existing routes, such as the West Highland Way and Rob Roy Way.”
A VisitScotland spokesman said: “This is a tremendous accolade for Scotland and what a great way to start the New Year. 2013 is a massive year for Scotland with a plethora of things to see and do and a host of events to participate in across the country, all under the banner of Year of Natural Scotland.
“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.
“Now is the ideal time to see exactly what Scotland has to offer and visit.
“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 position prominently on the tourism map.”