Crossing into History

Mon 28 Aug 17

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, which stands alongside the Forth Road Bridge and iconic Forth Bridge, 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.

This week, Scotland enters the history books as the only place in the world to boast three bridges spanning three centuries in one stunning location.

As the world’s longest three-tower cable stayed bridge, the Queensferry Crossing is a feat of modern engineering. It will make it easier for local, national and international visitors to travel across the east of the country, to discover attractions such as Dunfermline Abbey, Hopetoun House, Blackness Castle, Aberdour Castle, Deep Sea World and Inchcolm Abbey.

The crossing will open to traffic on 30 August and will be officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on 4 September.

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.”

Scotland is home to an impressive range of bridges, many of which were designed by Scots or built by Scottish construction companies.

A vote on the national tourism organisation’s community pages is currently trying to find the nation’s favourite Scottish bridge. The iconic Forth Bridge has emerged as an early favourite, closely followed by the Glenfinnan Viaduct, whose starring role in the Harry Potter films helped catapulted it to stardom.

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.”



Forth Bridge

It now enjoys the same prestigious status as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, having earned its UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2015. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, the Forth Bridge remains an important symbol of Britain’s transport heritage and Scotland’s engineering pedigree. Its distinctive style makes it one of the most recognisable structures in the world, inspiring artists, photographers and filmmakers. Last year it was also chosen as Scotland’s greatest manmade wonder.

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