The Firth of Forth could rival San Francisco, London and Sydney by becoming a leading destination for bridge tourism, according to VisitScotland.
The national tourism organisation believes the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing could see the area emulate the success of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Tower Bridge in London – all of which regularly attract millions of visitors every year.
And business manager for the sightseeing tour firm Forth Tours, Lesley MacInnes, said the draw of the new bridge will continue to bring a positive impact to the area.
She said: “There has been a massive amount of interest in the new bridge from conception through the varying stages of construction.
“We already have the UNESCO status of the Forth Rail Bridge which draws people from all around the world and the new bridge has created a significant level of interest and I think it will continue to do so and continue to bring people to the area.”
The new bridge will open to traffic on August 30 and will be officially opened by the Queen on September 4, which will mark Scotland’s entry into the history books as the only place in the world with three bridges spanning three centuries, in one location.
And as the world’s longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge, the Queensferry Crossing has already attracted worldwide attention for the use of modern engineering techniques and record-breaking statistics, including boasting the highest bridge towers in the UK at 210m.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “Bridges, such as the Queensferry Crossing, are a lasting reminder of a nation’s engineering expertise and never fail to attract global interest.
“This impressive structure, which rather fittingly opens during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, marks Scotland’s place in history as the only destination in the world to boast such a remarkable trilogy.
“This is undoubtedly a golden opportunity for tourism and the chance for Scotland to become a global destination for bridge tourism.”
Completed in March 1890, the iconic Forth Bridge was inscribed as Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site in July 2015.
Tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Queensferry Crossing is about to join its two neighbours in the ranks as one of the world’s most iconic bridges, a national ‘must see’ for visitors to Scotland.
“The people of Scotland will take this new bridge to their hearts and we invite the world to join in celebrating its opening as a celebration of the magnificent feats of innovation, engineering and construction, but also the history and heritage of the three bridges and surrounding areas.
“By successfully attracting people to the area, we are working with other bodies to ensure that local communities, businesses and attractions are able to capitalise on this increased level of interest to their benefit.”