The number of overseas visitors to Scotland rose 6% to 2.7 million in 2016 — and the amount those visitors spent rose 9% to £1.85 billion, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This compared with a 4% increase in overseas visits and a 2% increase in overseas expenditure for the UK as a whole.
The trend was supported by an 18% increase in the number of visits to Scotland from North America.
Edinburgh was ranked the second most popular city with overseas visitors to the UK, with Glasgow in sixth place.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “These figures underline Scotland’s appeal as a world-class tourism destination and are a credit to our tourism industry’s hard work to attract and welcome more than 2.7 million overseas visitors last year.
“We have seen an 18 per cent increase in the number of visits from North America and welcomed more than 1.6 million visitors from across Europe, highlighting the strength of our connections with the US and our neighbours on the continent.
“Our overseas visitors spent £1.85 billion in 2016, a 9% increase on the previous year and a welcome boost for our tourism and hospitality sectors and wider economy.
“We are committed to working with VisitScotland and the tourism sector to build further on Scotland’s reputation as a must visit, must return destination.”