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Ancestral Tourism takes people on a truly personal journey, which is memorable, emotional and creates lasting, bonding relationships

Ancestral tourism in Scotland

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Ancestral tourism presents new and exciting year-round commercial opportunities, whatever the size, type and location of your business


Each year, thousands of visitors visit Scotland to explore their ancestry further or simply to get a feel for where their ancestors lived. Seeing and experiencing Scotland first hand is just as important a motivation for many ancestral visitors.  For many it is a journey of discovery that isn’t over until they have actually visited their ancestral homeland.

With over 50 million people across the globe claiming Scottish ancestry. The scope and potential of this market is huge and presents a real opportunity for communities and businesses across the country to benefit.


10 million people with Scottish roots are interested in finding out more about their ancestry. It is estimated that 4.3 million people could be encouraged to visit.

Market Potential

Some 50 million people
living outside Scotland were
either born in Scotland or have Scottish ancestry. Here is a snapshot of where they are located and the relative
market potential.


Which parts of the country do ancestral tourists visit?

Source: 'Ancestral Tourism in Scotland'
research report by TNS, on behalf of
VisitScotland, 2012


When they visit, ancestral visitors are 'immersed' in Scotland and undertake a very wide range of activities in order to make the most of their trip and to see the very best of what Scotland can offer.

This is particularly true of international visitors who have obviously travelled further to get here.


Visiting towns and villages of historical or family interest and places connected with their ancestors are popular activities for ancestral tourists

This is followed by visiting graveyards, talking to other members of their family, visiting churches, and visiting areas associated with their clan or family sept.

The ancestral tourism market is non-competitive. Someone either has Scottish ancestry or doesn't. As a result, all areas of Scotland can benefit from tapping into this £2.4 billion market.

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