Dr Alex Sanmark, Institute for Northern Studies, and Dr Steven Timoney, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, produced a scoping study investigating the current Viking and Norse heritage tourism offer in Scotland, and opportunities for new developments.
The Vikings continue to be popular across a range of media, and visiting heritage sites linked to the Vikings is increasingly popular. In Scotland, there are a number of Viking and Norse heritage sites presented to the public, primarily in the Northern and Western Isles, the traditional Norse territories. There are also major collections of Viking and Norse artefacts, most notably in the National Museums of Scotland.
With the growth in visitor numbers to Scotland, particularly in the Northern and Western Isles, heritage sites and visitor attractions are coming under increasing strain to cope with the demands and impacts of visitors. As tourism numbers increase, so the risks of long-term damage to many of the iconic heritage sites increases. The opportunities to develop new heritage provision in the Northern and Western Isles, which have encountered rapidly increasing visitor numbers in recent years, provides opportunities to reduce impact and load at honeypot sites by diversifying the offer, and providing the potential to take visitors away from pressure sites. This research has identified potential opportunities to develop new visitor offers linked to the Vikings and Norse in Scotland, which would help to alleviate these pressures.