Would you kill for a trip to Scotland? It seems many would.
Worldwide Google searches for ‘flights to Scotland’ have rocketed back to pre-pandemic levels for the first time during the first week of January, following the return of the hit BBC reality show The Traitors, filmed near Inverness.
Travel information site Places To Travel analysed Google search data and found searches were up by 55 per cent when compared to the average volume from the previous five years. It marks the first time demand has been this high since Covid lockdown measures were instated in the UK in early 2020.
A spokesperson for Places to Travel commented: ‘You may think it’s a coincidence – that demand is returning to natural levels over time. But Google data clearly shows a bump in searches for flights during the same timeframe of The Traitors returning to our screens. It also happened last year when the first season aired.’
The reality series, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, depicts 22 strangers fighting to win up to £120,000 in a Scottish castle by back-stabbing and lying to one another. Three competitors are chosen as the titular ‘Traitors’ and secretly conspire to ‘murder’ the other 19, referred to as the ‘Faithfuls’.
Worldwide Google searches for ‘flights to Scotland’ have rocketed by 55 per cent following the return of the hit BBC reality show The Traitors, filmed near Inverness and presented by Claudia Winkleman (above)
Searches for Ardross Castle (above) – the grand Scottish castle at which the show is filmed – and ‘The Traitors’ have spiked simultaneously
Loch out, there’s a killer about: The second season of The Traitors UK is currently airing
The series, produced by the BBC, is hugely popular, attracting an average audience of 5.4million during the first season.
The second season is currently airing, and seems to again be spurring demand for a Highland getaway: searches for ‘Ardross Castle’ – the grand Scottish castle at which the show is filmed – and ‘The Traitors’ have spiked simultaneously.
Indeed, searches for ‘Ardross Castle’ – a 19th-century castle in the Scottish Baronial style – have surged by 4,500 per cent compared to the previous five-year average. Searches peaked during the weeks in which season one and two premiered.
In addition to mind games, contestants partake in a series of physical challenges and ‘escape room’ style competitions, which serves to showcase the spectacular Scottish scenery of the Highlands. Ardross Castle is surrounded by more than 100 acres of land, up to the River Alness.
Ardross is also the setting of the US version of The Traitors, which launched on the streaming platform Peacock in 2023, hosted by Alan Cumming. It features various celebrity contestants.
The Traitors depicts 22 strangers fighting to win up to £120,000. Three competitors are chosen as the titular ‘Traitors’ and secretly conspire to ‘murder’ the other 19, referred to as the ‘Faithfuls’
The US Traitors is also filmed at Ardross Castle (interior pictured above) and features celebrity contestants. This season features former speaker of the house John Bercow (pictured above, third from right) and is currently screening on Peacock
The States’ second season debuted on January 12. It features former speaker of the house John Bercow and Love Island star Ekin-Su Culculoglu.
Over the past 30 days, search interest for the terms ‘flights to Scotland,’ ‘Ardross Castle,’ and ‘The Traitors’ came from the same countries: the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the United States.
The Places To Travel spokesperson added: ‘TV tourism is becoming more common, with viewers wanting to visit the filming locations of their favourite shows. It’s effective because the locations are carefully selected for the show, but they aren’t being directly advertised, so users don’t feel like they are being sold to.
‘It seems to be driven by a desire to immerse themselves in the filming location of the show, or it could just be that the program has inspired people to travel somewhere they’ve never considered’.