Almost two-thirds of Scotland’s tourist information centres are to shut as part of a “dynamic strategy” to change the service.

VisitScotland said 39 of its 65 centres would close over the next two years, leaving 26 “high impact regional hubs”.

The organisation said the decision was in response to the popularity of digital services among visitors and a 58% drop in footfall to Scottish tourist information centres in the past decade.

Staff affected by the centre closures are to be offered redundancy packages or the chance of redeployment.

Centres earmarked for closure include those at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

A VisitScotland spokeswoman told the BBC: “Our staff are important to us.

“It’s our clear goal to minimise job losses in the changes we are making. As well as offering voluntary redundancy, we will offer a chance to learn new skills or move to another office where feasible.”

Decisions regarding the location of the regional hubs in Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and the Outer Hebrides are to be made following a consultation with the local tourism industry over the coming months.

In the meantime, sites located in Peebles, Jedburgh, Gretna, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries, Tarbert (Harris) and Stornoway will continue to operate as normal for now.

VisitScotland said there had been a significant decline in the number of tourists visiting the information centres.

Two out of three visitors to Scotland were now accessing information online and £10 million would be invested in digital activity and the new regional hubs, the tourism organisation said.

The 26 regional hubs will operate in locations with the greatest visitor demand and offer information about attractions across wider regions, said VisitScotland.

The current number of information centres will be replaced with 1,500 “information partners”, made up of local businesses, such as bed and breakfasts, distilleries or local retailers.

Four vans will also tour the country with tourist information, attending events or popular sites, as part of the strategy.

VisitScotland chairman Lord John Thurso said: “The way visitors access information has changed significantly over the past decade.

“It’s time to switch our focus and investment into new and diverse initiatives to ensure we are reaching as many people as possible with the information they want, in the way they want it, when they want it.

“With three in four adults now owning a smartphone, a key focus is ensuring our digital communications provide succinct inspirational and informational advice to visitors at every stage of their journey.

“However, we know that speaking to locals is also important to our visitors and with our 26 high footfall travel hubs, over 1,500 VisitScotland information partners and our team of outreach staff travelling around the country, it means that there is always advice on what to see and do and where to go wherever people are.

“The information revolution is upon us and technology has been a game-changer over the past ten years. We look forward to telling more and more visitors all about our remarkable country across all our different channels for many years to come.”