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Tourist numbers up 14.6%

Scotland’s visitor surge ‘absolutely phenomenal’

tourism, Chinese tourists

More overseas visitors have flocked to Scotland (photo by Terry Murden)


Scotland enjoyed a sharp increase in tourists last summer as overseas visitors took advantage of the low pound and more air routes.

VisitScotland chief executive, Malcolm Roughead, described the 14.6% uplift in foreign tourists between July and September as “absolutely phenomenal”.

The slump in sterling has made Britain a cheaper place to visit for overseas travellers while the launch of direct flights to key cities has made Scotland more accessible.

Visitors were also drawn to Scottish locations used in film and television series such as Outlander and Harry Potter.

Mr Roughead said: “We knew anecdotally that tourism businesses across Scotland had a good summer in 2017, but it is absolutely phenomenal to see just how much growth there was compared to the same period in 2016 with overseas visits up by 14.6% and domestic visits up by 10% from July to September.”

He said a “myriad of different factor”s had worked together to create a “perfect blend” for Scottish tourism.

There had been an uplift in the staycation market with fewer people flying out of the UK for the first time in a number of years.

“This is a real testament to the hard work of our tourism industry which is constantly innovating and investing to ensure visitors receive not only a quality experience, but a memorable one,” he said.

He added that pioneering partnerships included key collaborations with other tourism businesses to reach more potential visitors globally in new ways. 

“Our focus on digital marketing and unique PR campaigns including an ambitious YouTube influencer campaign has been very successful, with Scotland punching above its weight on a global platform.”

KEY FACTS 

QUARTER 3 ONLY (Jul – Sept 2017)

Overseas visits have increased:  +14.6%
Overseas spend has increased: 
+4.3%

Domestic visits have increased:  +10%
Domestic spend has increased:  +24.7%

Combined overseas and domestic visits have increased: +11%
Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased: +14%

ROLLING YEAR STATISTICS (Oct 2016 – Sept 2017)

Overseas visits have increased:  +14.8%
Overseas spend has increased:  +14.7%

Domestic visits have decreased:  -1.5%
Domestic spend has increased:  +1.5% 

Combined overseas and domestic visits have increased: +2%
Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased: +7%

YEAR TO DATE (Jan – Sept 2017)

Overseas visits have increased:  +14.3%
Overseas spend has increased:  +18.3%

Domestic visits have decreased:  -5.5%
Domestic spend has stayed the same:  -0.4% 

Combined overseas and domestic visits have decreased:  -1%
Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased:  +7%

Domestic holiday visits:  +8.5%
Domestic holiday expenditure:  +12.7%
Domestic day visits:  +7.4%
Domestic day visit expenditure:  +29.3% 



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