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Scottish Tourism: Who, why and when?


There’s a huge range of reasons people choose to visit Scotland. Here we’ll talk a bit about the ‘T’ and the ‘S’ of our name; Scottish Tourism, and the sort of visitors who travel to us in search of a world-class experience.

3 min read, Article
Walkers taking in the view of Loch Lomond from Conic Hill part of the West Highland Way

For such a small country, Scotland manages to pack in so much in terms of food and drink, entertainment, attractions, natural beauty… the list goes on. For those who live here it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about – however it may be useful to learn a bit more about the rationale behind the ‘who, why and when’ of our many tourists.

Having said that, around 8 out of 10 of our visitors come from within the UK, and half of them are actually from Scotland. A lot of the time when we think of the tourism industry it conjures up images of international travel and far-flung lands – but it’s important to remember that ‘staycation’ became a buzzword for a reason! That’s not to say that international visitors aren’t important. Far from it. Four out of every 10 pounds spent come from overseas, most likely from the US, Germany and France. They also tend to stay twice as long (or longer) than UK visitors.

Holidays are by far the main reason people choose to visit Scotland. With the Scottish diaspora counting roughly 10 million in the US and Canada alone, it’s no surprise though that a third of overseas trips are for VFR purposes – visiting friends and relatives. Events such as Homecoming Scotland 2014 do a great job in getting all those overseas Scots back to the homeland too.

In terms of when our tourists tend to come, they’re very much a summer crowd; around four out of every 10 trips are made between July and September, with January to March being the quieter months.

This is just a quick snapshot of tourism in Scotland of course, but it always pays to have the fundamentals established before you start thinking about the next step; developing and implementing your digital marketing strategy. Why not have a browse through our other articles or event schedule? There’s sure to be plenty more practical advice to help you keep the momentum up! VisitScotland also have a whole host of stats and trends that are well worth brushing up on.

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