LOCAL MSP Kenneth Gibson is encouraging people to make a New Year’s Resolution to visit some of Scotland’s stunning historic sites in 2017.

This year is Historic Environment Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, which will shine a spotlight on the country’s greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems.

Official figures show that Scotland’s historic and cultural sites continue to draw visitors in their millions.

Mr Gibson said: “Scotland’s historic sites continue to attract millions of visitors and it’s not hard to see why. Scotland boasts some of the best historical, cultural and natural sites in the world. And we saw on June 18, 2016 just how popular these can be with the highly enjoyable and successful inaugural Ardrossan Castle Carnival.

“Our impressive historical and cultural attractions continue to be a great asset to the Scottish economy, bringing in hundreds of millions of pounds and sustaining thousands of jobs.

“Both Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland have seen visitor numbers boom in recent years and growth will continue as we mark the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017.

“I urge folk to make a New Year’s Resolution to visit some of the exceptional historic sites on our doorstep.”

Year on year, Historic Environment Scotland’s sites have attracted more and more visitors, increasing from 3,150,325 in 2010 to 3,760,254.

The National Trust for Scotland has also reported growing numbers of visitors in recent years, with over 2,650,000 in 2016.

The 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is expected to increase visitor numbers even further, with events planned across the country. It is the latest of VisitScotland’s ‘Themed Years’ following on from the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and the 2015 Year of Food and Drink.