SCOTLAND is poised to be the destination of choice for tourists seeking cooler weather as southern Europe experiences extreme temperatures.

Near-record temperatures of 48C were registered in southern Europe last month, leading to heatwaves and wildfires – notably in Greece.

Now, a VisitScotland survey has found 10 per cent of European tourists said that the climate was one of the factors that motivated them to travel to Scotland.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also show that the number of tourists from Europe has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with two million visits to Scotland last year, an increase of 8% compared to 2019.

Gordon Morrison, the chief executive of the Association for Scottish Visitor Attractions, told The Times: “If continental Europe is still experiencing temperatures that get up to the mid 40s then for a lot of people in the UK that’s unpleasant. More people will want to stay and holiday in this country.”

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Leon Thompson, the executive director of UK Hospitality Scotland, said: “Bookings across hotels look good across the month of July through to where we are now. Now whether that’s related to people changing their holidays or not is much harder to ascertain.”

The Herald also previously reported that there was an influx of Spanish visitors to Scotland for the same reason.

J​​osé Manuel Lastra from The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agents (CEAV), which represents travel agencies across Spain, said of the trend: “There is a shared perception amongst travel agents that, effectively, interest in destinations such as Scotland and Ireland has increased.”

He added: “There are many people who are thinking about trips to the north of Europe in search of a more benign climate, to places like Scandanavia, Ireland, England or Scotland."