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Silly Season(s)

Press Release   •   Apr 29, 2016 14:27 BST

As Scotland prepares for springtime snowfall over the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, research* by VisitScotland has revealed that the unpredictable Scottish weather is being embraced by visitors to the country, with some indicating the climate is the main reason they travel here.

The statistics show that during a four year period (2010 – 2014), negative weather had little bearing on domestic holiday tourist trip patterns with an increase in annual rainfall (40%) coinciding with an increase in visitors (10%) and average spend (13%)**.

Interestingly, 5% of visitors (mostly from the European market) indicated that the climate and weather was the main attractor for visiting Scotland.

The findings come as the country prepares for a May Day Bank Weekend forecast predicting unusual weather for the time of year including snowfall across parts of Scotland.

The colder than average weather has led to an extended ski season in Scotland with resorts such as Cairngorm Mountain to remain open into May.

The VisitScotland research also reveals that millennials in particular appear unfazed by the weather with 1.3 million day visits by 25-34yr olds during July 2015 to undertake outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, golf and days out, despite an increase in rainfall and decrease in sunshine hours.

Come rain or shine, nine out of ten (87%) visitors agreed that Scotland offers enough to do in all weather conditions and many expressed an opinion that tourists do not come to Scotland for the weather, but for the immense quality of the tourism product in terms of landscape, history, heritage, myths and legends.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“Whether it’s a blustery walk along Luskentyre Beach, or enjoying the sun while relaxing in Kelvingrove Park, or even making a splash mountain biking through the Scottish Borders in the rain, the weather is of little consequence to our visitors! Our research shows again and again that come rain or shine, visitors enjoy discovering the magic and spirit of Scotland through the landscapes, history, myths, legends and people.

“Stormy clouds circling over our mountainous regions can be just as breathtaking to the eye as blue skies and with such a plethora of activities for all weathers across the country, Scotland truly is a year-round destination.”

Visitor quote from 2016 Visitor Survey:

“I can only say that I loved every moment of being in Scotland again after 30 years of not being there and I will be back soon. And I don’t care what the weather is doing!”

The research was collated by VisitScotland’s Insight Department which maximises the visitor economy by informing and guiding the development of robust, forward-looking and measureable strategies. Through its work and the communication of findings, conclusions and recommendations, insights from VisitScotland enable strategic decision making, supporting businesses, stakeholders and partners.

The Spirit of Scotland 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

Get all the latest news, ski conditions, webcams, weather forecasts and lift and road status updates from Scotland's ski centres at

* Please note: the research above is taken from multiple surveys including: Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS), International Passenger Survey, Met Office data, VisitScotland Visitor Survey 2015 and 2016. The GBTS domestic tourism surveys are jointly sponsored by VisitScotland, VisitEngland, and Visit Wales, and carried out by independent research agency TNS-RI. The international tourism survey is conducted by the Office of National Statistics. For more information, visit:

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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
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    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
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  • 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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