At Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Scotland's tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, volunteer guides and workers are preparing for a tourist climb.
This 15th-century palace, a stronghold of the Stuart dynasty, is surprisingly well-preserved and is already attracting visitors who walk among stone halls and ramparts and admire its small hole. But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop manager, knows that more is on the way. Why? Because last week Netflix started Outlaw king, a production about the life of Robert the Bruce, which was shot in part in Linlithgow. And after the great success of Outlander TV drama series, which was shot in different places in Scotland, the country knows a thing or two about the TV effect.
"Such buoyant points like these come from TV shows like Outlander is amazing and we expect the same from Outlaw king"Said Murray yesterday. "But sometimes we get tourists from overseas who want to see certain rooms in which some scenes were filmed, and we have to explain that they do not exist. But this is such a beautiful and interesting building that they will soon wrap up in it. "
The West Lothian Palace was just one of several Scottish venues for the new movie featuring Chris Pine as the warrior overlord. The others read like the directory of a tourist brochure: Borthwick Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral and Doune Castle near Stirling. And the beautiful landscapes of Skye are already disturbing the main characters.
VisitScotland, the national tourism agency, has released two glossy and comprehensive brochures featuring some of the world's newest world-class productions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond Skyfall stands next to his silver Aston Martin and behind him the mist of Glen Coe gathers. In 2015, an online survey was conducted by USA today chose Scotland as the best movie destination in the world. Among the cinematic credits of the country include well-known films like Bold heart, The Da Vinci code, The 39 steps and Whiskey plentiful. But it also makes atmospheric cameo appearances in films like 2001: A space odyssey, where the ethereal beauty of Harris by Stanley Kubrick was used to realize his imaginary Jupiter.
Next year, another important historical drama revolving around the vivid and bloody history of this nation will be released in British cinemas. This time, Mary, Queen of Scots herself, will receive the Hollywood treatment in a film starring Saoirse Ronan and David Tennant.
Tourism, together with whiskey and salmon, is the cornerstone of the Scottish economy. In a recent interview, Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland's Chief Executive, said: "Tourism is a key factor in preserving communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change – and that adds up to around £ 11 billion He also counted on this. In Scotland, a new job is created for every £ 60,000 spent by visitors.
VisitScotland has calculated that the value of direct and indirect spending together accounts for 4.5% of the Scottish economy, and visitor spending is close to £ 9 billion per year. However, the recent analysis by the Scottish Government suggests that productivity in the tourism sector continues to show much higher growth and that this was the lowest of six sectors considered as growth drivers in the national economic strategy. Film and television tourism will be crucial to this growth.
Fiona Hyslop, Secretary of State for Culture and Tourism in the Scottish Government, yesterday spoke of her delight that the world's leading film and television producers are making Scotland one of the top travel destinations. "Producers now know that, when they choose Scotland, they'll be choosing great-looking and professional technical crews to travel along with great scenery and locations," she said.
Even the long wait for a national film studio of world rank could soon be over. At the recent Bafta Scotland Awards ceremony last week, Minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the need for a national film studio: "Watch this space".
However, some would say that Scotland, with its remarkable landscape and breathtaking views, already has the best natural film studio in the world.