Rise in tourism spend

Industry boosted by increased domestic expenditure.

Domestic tourists spent £400 million more in visits to Scotland in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to figures released today.

There was a 14% increase in domestic tourism expenditure in Scotland in 2015, and although overseas visitors dipped by 4%, visitor spend was at its highest level for more than a decade.

Spending from around 15 million tourists visits resulted in a 5% increase in combined tourism expenditure (overseas and domestic) to almost £5 billion in 2015, compared with the previous year.

The figures also show:

Edinburgh and Glasgow rank in the top five for visits outside London.

There was a 4% decrease in overseas tourism visits to Scotland and a 8% decrease in overseas tourism expenditure.

There was a 4% decrease in domestic (GB) tourism visits to Scotland in 2015 compared with 2014.

The majority of overseas visitors and expenditure comes from Europe.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Our tourism sector is of vital importance to the Scottish economy, employing 196,000 people across the country.

“It is encouraging that spending from domestic visitors has increased despite the industry operating in a challenging environment.

“Our tourism industry has worked hard to make Scotland a destination offering quality experiences for visitors building on 2014, a pivotal year for tourism.

“A second programme of themed years is underway, which this year will focus on Innovation, Architecture and Design followed by History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017 and Young People in 2018.

“The themed years programme is used to shine a spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems through a wide ranging variety of new and existing activity to boost tourism in every corner of Scotland.”

Notes to editors

The ONS publication ‘Travel Trends: 2015 provides information on completed visits to the UK from overseas visitors, and visits overseas by UK residents. The statistics are available at:



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