The number of overseas visitors from mainland Europe to Scotland increased by 39% in the 12 months to the end of June 2018, according to official statistics released on Thursday.
Spending by European visitors rose 21% to £1.6 billion compared to the previous 12 months.
Across all international markets, there was a 23% increase in overseas overnight visits, with almost 3.6 million visitors choosing Scotland as a destination, with spending up 8% to almost £2.3 billion.
Minister for Europe Ben Macpherson said: “Scotland’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength and the continued rise in overseas tourists is encouraging.
“European visitors are flocking to our shores and spending more too, which is a great boost for the economy.
“It is also welcome news for tourism businesses across the country, with hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and cafes across Scotland feeling the benefit of increased visitor numbers.
“As visitor numbers increase, the Scottish Government will continue to work with partners and communities to support sustainable growth.
“Scotland offers an unrivalled and memorable visitor experience for people who choose our country as their holiday destination, and we will continue to warmly welcome all those who choose to visit.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “Tourism is the success story of Scotland’s economy and it is fantastic to see a rise in international visitors.
“Scotland is about building bridges, connecting places and bringing people together, with tourism at the heart of this.
“It is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”