Tourism Scotland: Surge in North America visitors as US and Canadian travellers take advantage of strong dollar post Covid

Almost 9 per cent more North American visitors came to Scotland last year than 2019

A surge of visitors from North America has helped drive the recovery of Scotland's tourism sector in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

New figures published by VisitScotland have shown spending by international visitors was at a record level last year at £3.2 billion – up 24 per cent on 2019.

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And significantly, there was a upturn in tourists coming from North America last year, with 835,000 coming to Scotland.

A couple survey Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire. Picture: VisitScotlandA couple survey Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire. Picture: VisitScotland
A couple survey Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire. Picture: VisitScotland

That figure was almost 9 per cent higher than 2019 – the most recent full year before Covid struck.

Spending by the North American incomers also rocketed from £809m in 2019 to £1.37bn last year, as visitors took advantage of a strong American dollar against the pound.

The influx of visitors from the USA and Canada were among 3.2 million inbound visits made to Scotland overall last year – 7 per cent fewer than in 2019.

The figures were in contrast to those for England, where the 2022 number of North American arrivals dipped slightly in comparison.

A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “North America is Scotland’s largest international market, both in terms of visitor volume and value.

"Visitors from the US and Canada tend to stay longer than average and explore more regions, with many particularly interested in Scotland’s scenery and landscapes, distinct culture and links to ancestry.

"We’ve already seen North American visitors leading the way in their return to international travel and, with exchange rates in their favour and a number of direct air routes to choose from, indications are very positive for visits to Scotland through 2023 also.”



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