The home of golf draws in the visitors

Swilcan Bridge at The Old Course, St. Andrews, which is drawing in visitors.
Swilcan Bridge at The Old Course, St. Andrews, which is drawing in visitors.

St Andrews’ golf courses are among the main tourism drivers in the Kingdom, according to a new visitor survey.

Carried out in the summers of 2015 and 2016, the poll by VisitScotland saw 627 visitors to Fife interviewed, with 119 of these answering specific questions about their visit to the area in a follow-up survey online.

Well over half (59 per cent) of the respondents cited scenery and landscape as the main draw to the Kingdom, and this was followed by history and culture (41 per cent).

However, of particular note was that almost two-fifths (37 per cent) of visitors were enticed by a desire to visit a specific attraction which was over four times the national average (9 per cent).

And the most commonly mentioned attractions were the golf courses of St Andrews.

Sightseeing by car, coach or on foot was the most popular activity, with 74 per cent of respondents giving this as a reason to visit the region.

In second spot was visiting a cathedral, church, abbey or other religious building. These included Dunfermline Abbey, St Andrews Cathedral and Aberdour Castle. At 65 per cent, this is well above the national average of 46 per cent and consistent with the importance of history and culture, and visiting a particular attraction, as a motivation to visit the area.

Visitors to Fife gave positive ratings of their holiday experience, with 93 per cent giving scores of 7-10 on the satisfaction scale, and more than three-fifths gave the highest ratings of nine or ten out of ten.

Holidaymakers also expressed a high likelihood to recommend the region to friends or family, with 95 per cent scoring it between 7-10 and 66 per cent selecting nine or ten out of ten.

Manuela Calchini, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “With nearly 12,000 visitors all over the country interviewed, this is the biggest Scotland Visitor Survey we have ever produced. I am delighted, but not surprised, to see that so many people rate their trips to Fife so highly. Finding out what drives people to enjoy a holiday in the region provides the tourism industry with valuable insight into the makeup of our visitors and ensure we continue to provide the best customer experience.”

According to the GB Tourism Survey and International Passenger Survey, Fife welcomed 661,000 overnight visitors in 2015, with 22 per cent of these from overseas. Overall, visitors spent £227 million while on holiday in the region.