How Much is the Loch Ness Monster Worth to the Scottish Economy?

A stone sign at one of the many viewpoints for Loch Ness in Scotland.
Nirian / Getty Images/iStockphoto

New video footage of a mysterious, “30-foot creature” is moving swiftly through the water in Loch Ness, Scotland, and begs the question as to what everyone’s favorite loch-dwelling cryptid means to the Scottish economy.

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The two-and-a-half-minute holiday video taken by a traveling couple in their 50s who wish to remain anonymous has reignited rumors of the existence of a Loch Ness Monster and has given enthusiasts “compelling” new footage.  

Experts like Gary Campbell, keeper of the Official Loch Ness Monster Register, are calling it the best footage of the monster called “Nessie” that they have seen in decades.

“In terms of video evidence, there’s been two or three really good videos in the past but this is certainly up there with the best of them,” said Campbell. “When something like this comes along which is genuinely inexplicable then its [sic] great.”

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And great for business too. According to Campbell, a Chartered Accountant in addition to a Monster tracker, there are less than 10 days each year when Nessie does not get a mention somewhere in the world. This monster that probably doesn’t exist is a major brand for Scotland tourism and helps lure half a million tourists to the Loch Ness area every year.  

In 2018, Campbell set out to calculate what Nessie and Loch Ness tourists meant to the Scottish economy. By analyzing data from the national VisitScotland tourism organization and from local area businesses, Campbell estimated that the monster adds nearly $54 million USD (£41 million) to the Scottish economy every year. The total is $14.4 million USD (£11 million) more than the previous estimate in 2014. If not for the pandemic, Nessie’s worth to the Loch Ness and Scotland economies would have probably increased since Campbell’s estimate.

The first mention of a creature living in Loch Ness waters was first written by Irish missionary Saint Adomnán of Iona in the sixth century in his work about the life of Saint Columba. The biography describes the abbot witnessing a large creature ascending from the waters of Loch Ness in 564 CE.  

The first modern sighting of the lake monster was reported by The Inverness Courier in 1933 and described a couple seeing a “fearsome-looking monster” “rolling and plunging on the surface” of the loch. Since then, there have been periods of inactivity and scarce sightings and cycles of intense research, scrutiny and fandom.

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For close to a hundred years, Nessie has enjoyed household name status throughout Scotland and the world, taking its place at the top of favorite cryptid lists and at the center of famous hoax story collections. So how much does it cost to see the legend in person?

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According to Champion Traveler, a seven-day excursion for two people costs on average $2,728. You can upgrade your trip as well, with a luxury stay costing up to about $10,962 for the week. The cheapest time to visit is late February and early March. However, for the ideal vacation weather, you’ll want to book your travel anytime between June 25 to August 12, just plan to spend a bit more money.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.

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