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Visit Scotland | Alba

Braveheart to Outlander

Scotland has a wealth of TV programmes, films, and books which are set in Scotland or have links to Scotland in some way.

These all play a role in inspiring visitors to come to Scotland. Often, they act as a prompt to visit, particularly for European and long-haul markets. When here, visitors may take part in specific TV, film or literary related activities which form part of the visitor experience. 

In this section: 

1. What is screen and literature tourism?   

2. The value of screen and literature tourism

3. Screen and literature tourism insights  

4. Set in Scotland film guide 

5. How businesses can get involved?

6. Additional research resources 

7. Useful contacts  

1. What is screen and literature tourism? 

Known by many names – screen tourism, film tourism, set-setting, film induced tourism, it all relates to the visitor’s journey. 

Screen tourism provides a connection with the location of a film or TV series and a trip to a set or filming location can create a visitor experience. In the case of literary tourism, this can be a connection to a location associated with an author or a place within their work. 

Stories are intertwined through the fabric of Scotland and at the heart of the tourism experience. 

Scotland exceeds the sum of her landscape, heritage, culture and people. And all have contributed to and inspired writers to chronicle real events or weave myths and create legends. 

The use of stories by destinations and tourism businesses is increasing to: 

  • Attract people’s attention 
  • Create an emotional connection 
  • Stand out in a sea of content and advertising

2. The value of screen and literature tourism

656,000

overnight screen tourists in 2019*

£64.9 million

visitor expenditure for Scottish businesses as a result of screen tourism activities*

49%

of UK adults believe Scotland is a nation known for its film and TV locations***

62%

of UK adults believe Scotland is a nation known for its well-known poets, authors and writers***

* Screen Scotland ** Scotland Visitor Survey 2015 / 2016 *** YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,343 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13 - 14 July 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+)

3. Screen and literature tourism insights

  • The value of Scotland’s film and TV industries

    Screen Scotland published a comprehensive study with support from VisitScotland and industry partners. It details the value of Scotland’s film and TV industries. 

    For the full report or executive summary, please read the economic value of the screen sector to Scotland on the Screen Scotland website.

  • The importance of Storytelling in tourism

    Understand more about the importance of storytelling, in all its forms and the experiences Scotland has to offer.

    Soul seeking in a destination – the importance of storytelling in tourism

    Published February 2022

  • Outlander effect and tourism

    Read about the appeal of screen tourism and how we can look at the impact of the popular Outlander TV series, adapted from author Diana Gabaldon’s novels, on Scottish tourism. This industry focused research also provides top tips to capitalise on the Outlander effect. 

    The Outlander Effect & Tourism

    Published June 2022

    Industry focused research providing you with top tips to capitalise on the Outlander Effect

  • Film and TV – Visitor Survey extract 2015 – 2016

    Read about the TV programmes, movies, and books set in Scotland that influence people to visit, such as Outlander, Braveheart, and Harry Potter.

    Film and TV - Visitor Survey extract 2015 - 2016

    Published January 2017

4. Set in Scotland film guide

Our new-look Set in Scotland guide launched on 4 November 2022. It features more than 150 films which have been shot entirely or partially in Scotland, and details more than 100 film locations. That's 46 more than the previous version published in 2016.

The guide is available across our iCentres or you can download it from visitscotland.com/film. 

Read more about the launch of the new guide with Scottish acting legend, James Cosmo, in our news section.

5. How businesses can get involved?

  • Identify the opportunities

    Are you near a location used in a famous film, or a place connected to an author of a popular book? Take a look at our Set in Scotland guide and do some research to discover local opportunities. 

  • Events

    Look out for related events to share or get involved with, such as local film or literary festivals.  Maybe you can create your own?

  • Working together

    Can you collaborate with local businesses to package up a related / themed tourism experience linked to film or book locations in the area?

  • Networking

    Join your local industry private Facebook group to share ideas, ask for suggestions or collaborators on the related topic! Join today!

  • Get involved online

    Take advantage of other occasions, e.g.

      • Book Week Scotland
      • World Outlander Day
      • St Andrews Day

    Or you could research some film and literary fan sites and use the correct hashtags when posting about any related opportunities online.

6. Additional TV and Film research resources

Jenni Steele

Film & Creative Industries Manager

Related links