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Investment and commitment is key to staying on top of the world

Press release   •   Jul 16, 2015 10:34 BST

VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay responds to the release of 2015 Quarter 1 (January – March 2015) International Passenger Survey (IPS) tourism statistics by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the domestic tourism statistics derived from the Great Britain Tourism Survey. He said:

“After the outstanding success of 2014, we are delighted to see that Scottish tourism is continuing to do exceptionally well during what is a very challenging economic time for many countries around the world.

“Our marketing campaigns this year have focused on inspiring domestic audiences to realise that Scotland is ‘Closer than you think’, and it is clear that our friends in the rest of the UK have discovered just how easy it is to travel here with large rises in both visits and spend.  Our Year of Food and Drink has also inspired many to discover the culinary delights on Scotland's doorstep."

“The international outlook is complicated with a direct impact from the poor exchange rate of the Euro. However, the North American market remains strong after a buoyant 2014 and we continued to see a large rise in the number of these very important visitors who contribute a lucrative amount to Scottish tourism.

“Overall, the statistics are good, and Scotland bucked the UK trend, but this positive first quarter is by no means a fait accompli for the year. We, as an industry, must work hard to ensure we stay ahead of the game. The success of 2014 raised Scotland’s profile to extraordinary heights, but to keep it there, we have to invest and commit to guarantee that our stunning country remains on top of the world. This will take innovative thinking, planning and collaboration, but with such a beautiful country and such interesting, friendly people, I have no doubt we can make it happen.”


QUARTER 1 ONLY (Jan – Mar 2015)

Quarter 1 (Jan – March 2015) - Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have decreased: -1%

Overseas spend has increased: 13%

Quarter 1 (Jan – March 2015) - Domestic visitors

Domestic visits has increased: 29%

Domestic spend has increased: 49%

Quarter 1 (Jan – March 2015) - Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have increased: 24%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased: 40%

ROLLING YEAR STATS (Apr 2014 – Mar 2015)

Year to date (Apr 2014 – Mar 2015) - Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have increased: 10%

Overseas spend has increased: 14%

Year to date (Jan – Dec 2014) - Domestic visitors

Domestic visits have increased: 10%

Domestic spend has increased: 7%

Year to date (Jan – Dec 2014) - Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have increased: 10%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased: 10%

For more information, or interview requests, please contact:

Kate Turnbull, VisitScotland Corporate Press Manager

0131 472 2324 /

Notes to Editors

    • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
    • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
    • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
    • For holiday information on Scotland go to
    • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
    • For more information, visit