Visitor numbers to Scotland increase
The number of visitors to Scotland rose by 5 per cent over the year, according to figures published today.
The results of The Office of National Statistics publication “Overseas travel and tourism” combined with those from the Great Britain Tourism Survey show that there was also a 15 per cent increase in expenditure by visitors to Scotland over the twelve months from March 2011 to March 2012.
Internationally, the number of visitors rose by one per cent and the domestic “staycation” saw a six per cent increase in visits to Scotland from within Great Britain. There was a 21 per cent rise in the amount domestic visitors spent and a four per cent increase from international visitors.
Figures comparing Q1 of 2011 with Q1 of 2012 show that a 9 per cent increase in the overseas market, offset by an 18 per cent fall in domestic visitors, helped boost spending by 1 per cent. These figures are based on a small sample size and should be treated with caution.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“We are continuing to see growth in Scotland’s tourism sector and that is encouraging, especially in the current global economic climate.
“This is one of our key industries and increases in visitor numbers and the amount they spend on their trips are good for Scotland’s wider economy.
“The quarterly figures, based on a small sample size and therefore volatile, provide a reminder that we can’t be complacent. The Scottish Government will continue to work with VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation and our other agencies to promote everything that Scotland has to offer across the world.
“We have much to look forward to. This is the Year of Creative Scotland and we also have we have the release of Disney-Pixar’s Brave this summer. In the coming years we have The Year of Natural Scotland, the Year of Homecoming and The Ryder Cup as well as the Commonwealth Games 2014.
“The tourism industry will benefit from the wider action we are taking to stimulate economic growth. Last month, we announced that we are bringing forward capital investment projects. This includes additional investment in visitor facilities within our national parks and Forestry Commission estate as well as further investment in the maintenance of our cultural assets and tourist attractions.
“We couldn’t deliver these results without the hard work and dedication of the Scottish tourism industry and they have our on-going support to ensure that we are in the best shape to make the most of the major opportunities that are coming out way.”
Chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Stephen Leckie said:
“Scotland's tourism industry has a great many positive initiatives and projects in place which we should be very proud of. Of course we are not immune from concerns about the global economy, but it is very encouraging that we are continuing to see growth and I know that many businesses continue to make the most of the unique appeal that our country has so we can exceed visitor expectations on every level, every time.
“Government and its agencies know that tourism is one of the main pillars of our economy and the huge buy-in and support that they have shown so far is vital.
“To make the most of their support, my message to the private sector is that we can take nothing for granted. In this climate we will need to work ever-harder both together and as individual businesses to support the tourism 20/20 strategy launched last month to make Scotland a quality destination of 'first choice'.”
The latest statistics are available at: