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Visit Scotland | Alba

Ancestral tourism is a growing and important market for Scotland. With over 50 million people across the globe able to lay claim to Scottish ancestry, the scope and potential of this market for Scottish tourism is huge. The explosion in DNA-based ancestry and the high profile films and TV shows featuring Scotland, such as Outlander, have served to bring Scots ancestry to the fore like never before. 

There are several reasons why ancestral visitors are important to Scotland economically:


  • Ancestral visitors tend to stay longer than average
  • They are more likely than average to visit out with the peak summer months of July and August 
  • They will visit areas across Scotland related to their own family history or ancient clan lands 
  • They have strong emotional connections to Scotland and are likely to become repeat visitors. 

Over a quarter of respondents to our 2015/2016 Visitor Survey from the main ancestral tourism source countries – the USA, Canada and Australia – cited Scottish ancestry as a major motivation for visiting Scotland. More than a third said their ancestors lived in Scotland.

The good news is that there are real opportunities for businesses right across the country to benefit. Whether ancestral visitors are coming to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of their ancestors, or to take things further in undertaking research while here, this toolkit contains tips to help you capitalise on this important opportunity. 

Useful links

Our ancestral portal can be found at

We have ancestry itineraries for 20 of Scotland's best known clan names.  

Find out more about Scottish clans and their histories at

Top tips for ancestral tourism

Published August 2018

Tips for businesses tapping into the ancestral tourism market

Ancestral support services 

Scotland has among the most complete and accessible family records in the world. These factsheets list details of a wide variety of genealogy and ancestral resources across Scotland.

Ancestral resources - National

Published November 2017

Ancestral resources - East

Published November 2017

Ancestral resources - North

Published November 2017

Ancestral resources - South

Published November 2017

Ancestral resources - West

Published November 2017

Ancestral resources - genealogists and tour operators

Published December 2019