Since its launch in 2002, visitscotland.com, the country's online tourist and information company, has sold more than £45 million of bookings nationally and internationally.

A regional breakdown of the figures shows that bookings in Ayrshire and Arran more than tripled over the past year, leading to a 400 per cent increase in revenues.

Meanwhile, Dumfries and Galloway recorded a 222 per cent rise in the number of bookings taken over 2005.

Announcing the results, Marco Truffelli, the chief executive of visitscotland.com, said the figures continued to show that online booking was the "way forward" for Scotland's tourism industry.

"Consumers are growing more confident in purchasing online and increasing numbers of visitors to Scotland are choosing to book accommodation via the web," he said.

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