VISITSCOTLAND has welcomed the recovery of a “crucial market” for Scottish tourism as the number of inbound visitors increased.

In the period from July-September 2023, figures show there was a total of 1,438,000 international visitors to Scotland – an increase of six per cent on the same period in 2022 and an increase of more than 14% on quarter three in 2019.

The number of visitors also helped to boost the economy, with visitors spending almost £1.5 billion, again up six per cent on the same quarter in 2022.

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According to VisitScotland, the main purpose for international visitors travelling to Scotland last summer was holidays.

European visitors were responsible for just over half of all trips during that time, followed by North American visitors.

Scotland was the only region to record an increase in visitors from North America last summer.

In response to the latest update, VisitScotland’s chief executive Malcolm Roughead said it was further demonstration of the “indisputable allure of Scotland for international visitors”.

“Increased connectivity, favourable exchange rates and pent-up demand have all helped bring more holidaymakers to our shores,” he said.

“Our overseas visitors stay longer and spend more, which in turn supports the visitor economy.

“They are a crucial market for our industry, particularly while domestic visitors adjust to the impact of the cost of living.

“For the first three quarters of 2023, Scotland has enjoyed a strong recovery, but we cannot be complacent.

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“We must continue building that demand, especially across key markets such as the US, Europe and the UK – inspiring visitors at those all-important planning stages and reaching them through the channels we know they use.

“While we all continue to navigate the challenging economic landscape, our priority is to use our marketing, partnership work and business support activities to grow appetite for Scotland from all visitors – near and far – and make Scotland a year-round, must-visit destination.”

Scottish Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead (below) also welcomed the figures, saying they reflected the "resilience, creativity, commitment and innovation of Scotland's tourism and hospitality sector".

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"Scotland's unique culture, history and landscapes, plus global events such as the Scottish Open Golf Championship, the UCI World Cycling Championships and Edinburgh's world-renowned festivals draw visitors from across the world," he added. 

"Tourist numbers and spending in Scotland has recovered faster than the UK as a whole - and overseas visitors are returning here in greater numbers following the pandemic. 

"We recognise that the sector faces challenges such as rising costs and skills shortages due to Brexit, and we will continue to support and work with the tourism and hospitality sector to grow its economic value while delivering the very best for visitors, businesses and communities."