Scotland could see a £150 million boost to its economy following a bargain struck between the country’s tourism agency and travel website TripAdvisor.
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the deal, a first for TripAdvisor in Europe, at the weekend in New York.
Speaking on the final day of her visit to the US, the first minister said it would promote Scottish tourism to 70 million potential new visitors.
The two organisations will work on a joint marketing campaign in the UK and it is hoped that the £150 million will be delivered over the next three years.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Our tourism industry has always been strong - spending by North American visitors leapt by almost 28 per cent to £633m in the last year alone.
“However, it’s crucial that we ensure Scotland’s appeal reaches as wide an audience as possible.
“This collaboration will ensure that millions more people will understand Scotland’s appeal, and boost Scotland’s tourism industry for years to come.
“The fact TripAdvisor has chosen Scotland as its first European partner shows just how resilient they believe Scotland’s economy to be - and the fact we were voted the second-best country in the world to visit by the Rough Guide means site visitors are guaranteed a good holiday.”
Charlie Smith, of VisitScotland, added: “TripAdvisor is the biggest tourism website in the world based on tourists’ real experiences.
“This partnership will give us the chance to learn from those at the forefront of innovation while inspiring millions of potential new visitors.
“This collaboration will help us put Scotland’s regions, cities and unique experiences on the world stage and to grow our tourism industry for future generations.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Ross Thomson said: “Any announcement will help to promote our world-class tourism offer here in Scotland should be broadly welcomed.
“However, the SNP government could go a lot further to help the industry by tackling business rates rises, skills shortages and ongoing uncertainty about a second independence referendum.”