A Welcome Result

Press release   •   Jan 16, 2014 00:00 GMT

It’s the year that Scotland welcomes the world - and according to new research among consumers who currently receive communications from VisitScotland, visitors already give the thumbs up to great Scottish hospitality.

Independent research showed that between 98 per cent and 100% per cent of visitors from eight key countries across the world felt they were made to feel welcome during a trip to Scotland this year.

Topping the welcome league were the Australians - with 100 per cent saying they felt very or quite welcome on a trip to Scotland, followed by Americans, Spanish and Germans at 98 per cent and the French at 97 per cent. The lowest percentage response came from Italy with an impressive 95 per cent saying that they were made to feel welcome.

The survey of around 1800 visitors showed that the top reason for visiting the country was to see the scenery and landscape. In the long-haul markets of USA, Canada and Australia: researching Scottish ancestry; learning more about the history of Scotland; and the Scots’ reputation for being friendly were the next three reasons to visit after scenery. 

The Europeans cited learning about the history and culture, Scotland’s reputation for friendly people and a return visit were the next three reasons to visit after great Scottish scenery and landscapes.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: 

“2014 is the biggest year for Scottish tourism in decades - the year that Scotland welcomes the world. It is hugely reassuring to know that international visitors count our welcome among the top reasons to visit and shows that great Scottish hospitality is hugely important.

“There is always room for improvement, but what an amazing position to be in as we embark on hosting over 430 Homecoming events, the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and MTV Europe Music Awards in this breathtaking year.”

Whilst the top reasons for visiting and activities undertaken on a trip to Scotland were common across all of the countries researched, some country differences highlighted in the report included:

  • Our welcome was one of the top reasons for French visitors to come to Scotland and they like to experience museums, gardens, take short walks or eat and drink in restaurants once here.
  • Word of mouth recommendation was one of the main reasons for Spanish visitors interest in Scotland and they enjoyed delving into cultural visits, stately homes and historic sites
  • Italian visitors enjoy trips to castles and museums, trying local food and shopping while in the country.
  • The culture of Scotland was particularly important to Germans (49%) and they enjoyed trying local food, visiting distilleries and hill walking.
  • Dutch visitors were the most social with eating and drinking in restaurants, chatting to locals and walking high on their list of things to do on a trip to Scotland.
  • US visitors are more likely to head for cultural and gastronomic activities including visiting museums or attending ceilidhs or eating and drinking in restaurants.
  • Canadians also love the social life, listing eating and drinking in pubs and the nightlife as being high on their list of reasons to visit. 
  • Australians did more activities based around family connections including visiting friends and relatives and researching ancestors. They also enjoyed visiting historic sites and shopping.

The findings are part of a bigger visitor segmentation report to be released later in 2014.


For further information contact:

Kate Turnbull, Corporate Press Manager  0131 472 2324 / 0785401040

Notes to Editors:

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to