Staycations help Scottish economy
Scotland's tourism businesses have a golden opportunity to exploit the growing market for staycations, Fergus Ewing said today. The Tourism Minister was commenting on a new report that showed Scotland is continuing to feel the positive effects of those holidaying at home, with Scots making 6.4 million overnight visits and spending £1 billion in Scotland last year.
The 2010 United Kingdom Tourism Survey shows a nine per cent increase in the number of overnight visits to Scotland by Scots and a 13 per cent increase in spending compared to 2009 figures.
While more Scots are choosing to stay and spend more at home, the 2010 International Passenger Survey shows an eight per cent fall in overseas visitors. Despite this fall, overseas visitors spent £1.4 billion in Scotland last year - five per cent more compared to 2009, and more than the total UK increase of one per cent.
Results for key markets such as Germany and Sweden, however, show a positive increase in visitor numbers of seven per cent and 16 per cent respectively. There has also been an increase in the number of visitors from Australia.
Speaking on a visit to Kirkwall's Visitor Information Centre Mr Ewing said:
"The trend of staycations contributed £1 billion to Scotland's economy last year, providing a significant boost to our tourism industry during the global economic downturn.
"Scotland is recognised internationally as a first class tourism destination which offers all visitors a warm welcome and a truly unique experience. It is great to see that more Scots are choosing to enjoy our world class attractions and are holidaying close to home during these challenging economic times. With targeted marketing tourism businesses can do more to take advantage of growing staycation opportunities.
"Orkney has seen the benefits over recent years from this staycation effect. By working hard to become increasingly competitive to attract customers seeking both quality and value for money, tourism businesses across Scotland have become more resilient to the challenges of economic downturn. Despite severe weather, volcanic ash cloud and the worldwide recession, this survey showed positive results for our tourism industry, which outperformed many of our competitor countries.
"Together with VisitScotland, this Government works hard to ensure Scotland is promoted across the world in key and emerging markets. We will continue to work with our partners to capitalise on Scotland's competitive advantages and increase growth across our tourism industry."
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
"Given the challenges thrown at us last year, in the form of the worldwide recession, extremely heavy snowfall and a volcanic ash cloud that brought airports to a standstill, these figures are pretty encouraging for Scotland - with overall visitor spend down by less than one per cent on 2009. The domestic figures show that staycations are here to stay. They are no longer a trend, but a habit, and it is a habit that we will continue to encourage with our Surprise Yourself marketing activity, which is already showing positive results for this year.
"We are also very encouraged by the results from Europe. Despite the challenging economic conditions, VisitScotland's marketing continues to deliver results. Our Meet the Scots campaign, for example, has made a big impression on European travellers. The additional spend created by this campaign in France and Germany alone generated almost £97 million in additional tourism revenue.
"Although North America continues to feel the effects of the economic downturn, which affects the number of international visitors to this country, we expect this market to start recovering soon. An air of optimism is returning, with US travel operators reporting an upsurge in interest for Scotland."