The three bridges over the Forth and the world-famous Pyramids of Giza are now both part of the same elite international visitors’ club, say tourism chiefs.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop made the remarkable claim at the launch of a new ten year strategy which aims to take the engineering wonders of the iconic structures to a whole new international audience.
While recent Scottish press coverage has often played up the teething troubles of the Queensferry Crossing (most recently with claims that ice falling on to vehicles was posing a hazard) the strategy aims to highlight the bigger picture.
While arguing that the bridges are in the same league as the Pyramids of Giza - which have been an international tourism attraction since Roman times, and probably much earlier - Ms Hyslop also compared them to the magnificent Alhambra palace of Granada.
She said: “The Forth Bridges are much more than a means of travel.
“The Forth Bridge has taken its place alongside the Pyramids of Giza and Spain’s Alhambra as one of the world’s most iconic monuments and has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
“Its two magnificent neighbours are themselves great engineering achievements.
“The bridges span both time and distance as the three bridges were built in three different centuries.
“The Tourism Strategy sets out the Forth Bridges Forum’s plan to tell the story of the three bridges for the first time, creating a unique experience which will allow visitors to learn about their history as well as marvel at their majesty.
“By communities, businesses and the public sector working together, we can use the bridges as catalysts for developing the many tourism offerings of the surrounding towns and villages.
“It’s an exciting development which will secure the area’s reputation as a top destination for visitors.”
Elements of the proposed scheme incoude developing Network Rails Forth Bridge Experience, tourism signage, merchandising, the formation of a group of Forth Bridge Ambassadors and brand registration in the UK, Europe and the USA.
There’s also to be a Scotland-wide learning programme for schools, colleges and universities.