Page last updated at 23:13 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 00:13 UK

Museum is top visitor attraction

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove attracted 2.23 million visitors

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was Scotland's busiest visitor attraction last year, according to VisitScotland.

More than 45 million visits were made to Scottish attractions in 2007, the organisation's figures showed.

The free Glasgow museum had 2.23 million visitors. Edinburgh Castle was the most popular paid attraction.

Tourism Minister Jim Mather said: "These latest figures show that Scotland is continuing to draw in the crowds."

He added: "We want to the show the world that the whole of Scotland has something to offer, and these figures show that this approach is beginning to pay off.

"Visitors are demonstrating that they want to visit our biggest cities, as well as more remote parts of Scotland. "

Scotland has some of the best visitor attractions in the world
Philip Riddle

The most-visited paid attraction for 2007 was Edinburgh Castle, recording more than 1.2 million visitors.

It was followed by Edinburgh Zoo, with Edinburgh Bus Tours third.

The most-visited free attractions after Kelvingrove were the National Gallery of Scotland and the National Museum of Scotland.

They were followed by the World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop Centre in Gretna Green and the capital's Royal Botanic Garden.

Other attractions which performed well in 2007 included the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, which saw an increase in visitor numbers of 26.3%, and St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, which experienced an increase of 21.4%.

The Falkirk Wheel also performed well, with an increase of 17.5% in visitors on the previous year.

Philip Riddle, chief executive of VisitScotland said: "Scotland has some of the best visitor attractions in the world, attracting millions of visitors from home and abroad each year.

"Visitor attractions are a crucial part of our tourism sector, and will play a significant role in helping the industry achieve its shared ambition of 50 per cent growth in tourism revenue by 2015."

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