Belgian tourists ‘more attracted’ to iScotland

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Belgian tourists would be more likely to visit an independent Scotland but it would put off the Dutch, according to a poll published today by travel comparison website GoEuro.

Tourists take pictures on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Picture: Jane Barlow
Tourists take pictures on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Picture: Jane Barlow

The survey also found more Spanish people would be attracted than repelled by Scotland becoming a separate state.

However, independence would put off more French, Italian and German travellers than it would attract.

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The poll of 4,000 people found 68 per cent of Belgians thought independence would make Scotland more interesting as a “vacation destination”, while 27 per cent said it would make it less so.

The prospect was next most attractive among Spaniards, with 17 per cent agreeing and 3 per cent against.

By contrast, 51 per cent of Dutch people questioned said Scotland would be less interesting to visit, with just 4 per cent saying it would be more so.

More than one in four Italians and French said Scotland would be less interesting, with only 5-10 per cent saying the opposite.

Half of those polled in each country said independence would make no difference.

In Germany, only 5-8 per cent had an opinion either way.

GoEuro country manager Simon Wisdom said: “The media has strongly directed public attention to Scotland over the past few months, showcasing the country’s stunning natural beauty as a backdrop against the political debate.

“We’re interested to see how tourism will be affected by the increase in coverage.”

Tourism agency VisitScotland said the Netherlands was Scotland’s fourth most valuable international tourism market after the United States, Germany and France.

The Dutch made 150,000 visits in 2012, spending £77 million.

The Germans made 281,000 visits and spent £143m, while French people made 174,000 visits and spent £108m.

Spaniards were in seventh place with 114,000 visits and £70m, while Italy was ninth with 99,000 and £72m.

Belgium did not feature in the top ten.

A VisitScotland spokesman said: “Scotland has inspired people to visit from all over the world for the last 200 years, and people visit and re-visit for many reasons: the landscape, the cities, the culture and the friendly people.”