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Tourism visitor numbers increase again

Overseas and domestic tourism visitors to Scotland have both increased by seven per cent in the last year to the end of June 2015 according to new figures.

With overseas and domestics visitors combined over 15.5 million tourists visited Scotland last year and spent over £5 billion, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous 12 months.

The figures also show:

  • An increase of visitor numbers from Europe of six per cent and an increase in expenditure of seven per cent
  • An increase of expenditure of 16per cent from tourists coming from North America who spent £488 million in the 12 months
  • The eight per cent increase in domestic visitors to Scotland is set against no increase in domestic visitors for Great Britain as a whole

Commenting on the figures Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: 

“These figures are hugely encouraging for the Scottish tourism industry as we continue to outperform Great Britain as a whole. 

“The rise in both visitors and expenditure show that Scotland is a destination that offers quality experiences and visitors are prepared to spend their money in our hotels, tourism attractions and restaurants.

“This success is as a result of the efforts of our hotels, B&B’s self-catering properties, caravan and holiday home parks, visitor attractions, restaurants and cafes and generally the people who work to make our visitors welcome to Scotland.   We have upped our game and improved standards of accommodation food and seen record investment across the sector – both public and private.

“This is despite their being amongst the highest VAT and Air Passenger Duty in the world – and despite the failure of the UK Government to provide Scotland with proper air slots at London airports as they dither and delay for further years over the Heathrow – Gatwick debate. 

“I’m pleased to see the increase in tourists from Europe who now spend over £960 million here in Scotland. This is especially good news in light of the strong Euro during this period. 

“Scotland continues to welcome all our visitors warmly and has a growing reputation internationally as a place to visit.” 

Malcolm  Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“It is encouraging that despite increased competition from other markets Scottish tourism is continuing to perform well, particularly in relation to overall spend by visitors and it’s good to see that the European market remains robust in spite of the Euro’s weakness against the Pound.

“2015 has ensured the global spotlight remains firmly on Scottish shores, thanks in part, to the culinary celebrations of the Year of Food and Drink and Scotland’s sterling event line up. The creation and introduction of new and direct flights means it is also now easier than ever for visitors to get here. 

“Both this year and last has given us a taste of what is possible when the Scottish tourism industry harnesses its skills, enthusiasm and dedication. As we move towards the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016 and beyond, we must continue investing and working together, using all our strengths – our scenery, world-famous attractions, enthralling events and our warm and welcoming people – to keep Scotland at the forefront of visitors’ minds.”

(The figures which cover Q2 2014 – Q2 2015 are published by the Office of National Statistics and VisitScotland.)

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