SCOTLAND has outperformed the rest of the UK in attracting visitors both domestically and from overseas after official figures showed a seven per cent rise in the number of tourists in the year to the end of June.
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.
These figures are hugely encouraging”FERGUS EWING
Overseas visits to Scotland were up 12 per cent to 2.7 million from 2.4m last year, driven by a 16 per cent increase in tourists from North America, compared to a five per cent rise in visits to England excluding London, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Figures for Wales reported a seven per cent increase in visitors from overseas.
Meanwhile, an eight per cent increase in domestic visitors to Scotland is set against no increase in domestic visitors for Great Britain as a whole.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which fell within the 12-month period, had given a boost to Scottish tourism.
He 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.”
He added: “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 - scenery, world-famous attractions, enthralling events and our welcoming people - to keep Scotland at the forefront of visitors’ minds.”
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “These figures are hugely encouraging.”