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Scots boast top host

Press Release   •   Feb 07, 2013 00:00 GMT

A new survey has shown that Scottish tourism businesses are in a prime position to welcome the world for the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming in 2014.

The Scotland Visitor Survey, the biggest of its kind produced by VisitScotland, reveals that Scots were the perfect hosts in the summers of 2011/12 with 80 per cent of visitors agreeing they were made to feel welcome by the locals. 

A further 88 per cent of visitors went on to say they would definitely recommend Scotland to others and 70 per cent would definitely visit in the next 5 years.

Such a warm reception led to 67 per cent of visitors feeling some kind of connection with Scotland, with almost a quarter (22%) of repeat visitors noting a connection because they have visited before.

While landscape and scenery remained the main reason to visit Scotland (55 %), Edinburgh topped the list of places to visit, with half (50%) of visitors making the journey to the historic capital city, closely followed by the Highlands (45%) and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (36%). 

Using the internet for research remained strong with almost two thirds (57%) of visitors accessing information online while on their trip compared to a guidebook (34%), and use of tablet/ipad more than doubled from 6 per cent in 2011 to 15 per cent for the same period in 2012. On return home, almost half (47%) of visitors used online platforms such as Facebook, Tripadvisor and Twitter to talk about their trip.

Other illuminating research within the survey highlighted the differences in activities undertaken by visitors from across the world.  While Canadians were more likely to go on a Guided Tour or discover more about their Scottish ancestry, visitors from France were more intrigued by Scottish wildlife or film locations.  Italians enjoyed more cultural activities such as music and art festivals, whereas Germans revelled in a long hike or a trip to a whisky distillery.  Australians had a night out at the top of their agenda and those from the UK preferred a trip to the beach come rain or shine.*

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“The warm Scottish welcome is renowned across the world, but our survey shows the hugely positive impact local people have on the overall visitor experience.  Scots, of course, are used to hosting visitors from all over the world, but the bar will be set even higher as the country heads into the global spotlight in 2014 with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming. 

“Research such as this is hugely important to VisitScotland and the industry to ensure we know who our visitors are, where they want to get their information from and what they like doing when they arrive here on Scottish shores.  That way we can keep an eye on trends and produce unique, targeted and exciting campaigns such as the Year of Natural Scotland in 2013 as a result.”


* These international figures indicate where a market indexes more highly than other markets for a particular activity compared to other nationalities. These activities aren’t always the top activities the nationality does, but it is where they index higher than all other markets.  Further information is available on exact percentages for these statistics within the Scotland Visitor Survey document and from VisitScotland directly.

For further information contact:

Kate Turnbull, Corporate Press Manager

Tel: 0131 472 2325 / 07920 709261

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.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to 
  • 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