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Tourism back on the 'front foot'

Press Release   •   Jul 11, 2013 00:00 BST

“2012 was unquestionably a challenging year for Scottish tourism, but what an incredible start we have made to 2013 with increases in domestic visits and spend and a significant increase in overseas expenditure.  The industry is back on the front foot, capitalising on the cold spring in the north, for example, with a remarkable pro-longed winter sports season.

“Our emerging markets are performing well and it’s interesting to see the rise in expenditure and visits in the rolling year statistics.  Anecdotally, we have had feedback from the industry about a noticeable rise in interest from these new continents and only last week, a tour operator in Loch Lomond told us about the huge increase in visitors from India to his boat cruises.

“In six months time, Scotland will embark on a year like no other.  In 2014, we will welcome the world to our shores with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming.  We must keep up the momentum that has been achieved already in 2013, building on these strong visitor numbers, increasing expenditure and ensuring that we remain resilient in an uncertain global economicclimate.”


Quarter 1 (Jan - March 2013) - Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have decreased 8.7%

Overseas spend has increased 21.7%

Quarter 1 (Jan - March 2013) - Domestic visitors

Domestic visits have increased 9.6%

Domestic spend has slightly increased 0.2%

Quarter 1 (Jan - March 2013) - Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have increased 7.0%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased 5.9%

Annual Trends (April 2012 - March 2013) – Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have decreased 7.6%

Overseas spend has decreased 4.8%

North America visits have decreased 5%

North America spend has increased 10%

Rest of World visits have increased 5%

Rest of World spend has increased 9%

Europe visits have decreased 11%

Europe spend has decreased 14%

Annual Trends (April 2012 - March 2013) – Domestic visitors

Domestic visits have slightly increased 0.2%

Domestic spend has decreased 4.1%

Annual Trends (April 2012 - March 2013) – Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have decreased 1%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has decreased 4.3%

The Overseas tourism statistics are available at


For more information, please contact

Kate Turnbull, Corporate Press Manager

Tel: +44 (0)131 472 2324

Mob: 07854 401040

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 has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • 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.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to 
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry 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)
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