Tourism in Orkney

Tourism is one of the most important industries in Orkney, with over 140,000 annual visitors providing a £30 million economic boost to the islands.

A bedroom from a local accommodation provider

A bedroom from a local accommodation provider

An Orkney bed and breakfast

An Orkney bed and breakfast

A view from inside a local accommodation provider's property

A view from inside a local accommodation provider's property

A cruise ship heading into Orkney waters

A cruise ship heading into Orkney waters

Orkney's rich heritage, archaeological treasures, incredible scenery, wildlife, food, drink and crafts are the biggest draws for visitors, along with the islands' many festivals and cultural attractions. The islands are also the top UK destination for cruise liners.

Surveys show that the vast majority of tourists leave Orkney feeling very satisfied with the quality of their experience. That's largely thanks to the local army of hoteliers, guest house and self catering owners, retailers, artisans, chefs, waiting staff and tour guides who work hard to deliver the highest possible standards of service.

Supporting the sector's dedicated workforce is Orkney Tourism Group, which now has more than 400 members. This non-profit making company was founded in 2005 to represent the interests of those involved in Orkney tourism. Its aims include developing tourism by extending the season, increasing the spread of visitors across Orkney, helping operators develop skills and improving transport links.

Tourism businesses also have the support of Visit Scotland which is responsible for the marketing of Orkney outwith the area. It operates a local office and runs staffed visitor centres at the Travel Centre in Kirkwall all year round and at the Ferry Terminal in Stromness during the summer months.