For many people it's a dream: open up a little guesthouse in Scotland, surrounded by glorious scenery, amazing beaches and stunning mountains. A little hotel or B&B, welcoming people from all over the world and introducing them to myriad delights, north of the border.
For some people, it's a reality and an extremely successful, fulfilling one at that. It would seem that more people than ever want to visit, to experience the unique landscape and the unparalleled atmosphere that Scotland possesses.
Tourism in Scotland is up
New figures reveal that foreign visitor numbers in Scotland are up. Research by VisitBritain reveals that Edinburgh is the UK's second most visited city, welcoming 1.3 million foreign holiday-makers in 2013, while Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness also made the tourism body's top 20.
It's great news as tourism officials are keen to encourage international visitors to venture outside of London - evidently, it's working. The statistics show that the number of foreign visitors to Scotland rose by 9.8 per cent, compared with 8.6 per cent in London. What's more, these visitors spent an estimated £1.7 billion pounds, an amount that is up 20 per cent on 2012.
Things will only get better
While it's Glasgow that hosts the Commonwealth Games, you can be sure that the country as a whole will benefit from increased interest, caused by the televised sporting event. In the aftermath of the London 2012 Olympic Games, not only did the English capital experience huge surges in tourism, but so did other regions, in a sort of rippling effect - including Scotland. This effect is sure to be replicated, bringing more people to the outer reaches of the country. Expect 'Scotland Fever' to hit the world!
The case is further bolstered by the sheer variety of incredible attractions that Scotland offers. Not just shops and open-top bus tours, visitors can enjoy castles, golf courses, incredible beaches, vibrant night life and breath-taking views. Even in the smaller towns, there are plenty of things to appeal - in Moray, for example is Elgin Cathedral, the Keith and Dufftown Railway, the Glen Moray Distillery and performances at The Loft.
The visitor experience
A quick review of Trip Advisor finds that travellers to the region are wowed by the views and the food - not to mention tip top service. They like feeling as though they are 'part of the family', sleeping in a comfortable bed and a good selection of whisky! That's surely not too much to ask for?
If you are thinking about investing in a B&B, hotel or guesthouse, then now might be the time to take that leap.