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New pawsibilities

Press Release   •   Mar 30, 2016 09:36 BST

With almost a third (30%) of holidaymakers basing their entire holiday around how suitable the destination is for their pet and 72% of dog owners saying they would take more holidays in the UK if there was a better attitude towards dogs, VisitScotland is urging businesses to expand their pet-friendly potential.

The new report from the national tourism organisation highlights ways businesses can improve their animal instincts, potentially providing a multi-million pound boost to Scotland’s visitor economy.

Further research, included in the paper, found that holidays with pets had an average spend of an extra £126 compared to holidays without pets, while over two thirds consider their dogs as family members when booking holidays.

The lucrative pet market has continued to grow in recent years and is now worth over £4bn. With an estimated 12 million households in the UK owning a pet, including 8.5 million dogs, the economic benefits of expanding pet offerings to domestic visitors could be hugely significant.

Analysis of searches on also found that there was 95% more interest in pet related searches compared to searches for romantic holidays.

The release of the trends paper follows the launch of VisitScotland’s search for an ‘Ambassadog’ to set their ‘paw of approval’ on journeys across Scotland.

Working in partnership with recruitment agency Denholm Associates, the national tourism organisation is looking for a four-legged friend to follow in his or her owner’s footsteps, taking in everything Scotland has to offer – all to be documented on social media.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“Scotland is the perfect destination for pet owners with our beautiful, spacious parks and award winning beaches providing an excellent environment for furry friends.

“Pet tourism has the possibility to be worth millions to Scotland’s visitor economy and this latest paper offers some great tips for businesses on how to become more pet friendly, unlocking the potential of this lucrative market.“

The Pet Tourism review paper can be found at,

For more information about pet-friendly holidays visit,

The search for a Scottish Ambassadog is part of VistScotland’s new Spirit of Scotland campaign, launched in February 2016. The global campaign is built on extensive research which shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit– whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people. Everyone who has shared their #ScotSpirit will become part of a special social movement. To find our more, visit

Notes to Editors

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  • 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.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
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