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VisitScotland Chairman welcomes 'bounce back' for Scottish tourism

Press Release   •   May 08, 2014 00:00 BST

VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay responds to the release of the quarterly International Passenger Survey (IPS) tourism statistics by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Domestic tourism statistics derived from the Great Britain Tourism Survey.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:

“After a challenging 2012, Scottish tourism bounced back in 2013 and the results are very encouraging.  The growth in our international markets is superb in both visits and expenditure and illustrates increasing confidence within global markets. In particular, these results point to the success of our international marketing campaigns such as Meet the Scots and VisitScotland’s partnership with Disney surrounding the movie, “Brave”.

“Crucial to our success has been attracting more direct flights than ever before to our airports across Scotland.  That ease of access and improved air connectivity has been key.

“Domestic visits were principally affected by a decrease in ‘visiting friends and relatives’.  However, we did see growth in the domestic leisure market with many heading to rural areas for their holidays, which was apt in 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland.

“As we move into an action-packed summer for Scotland with the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, and a staggering 830 events under the Homecoming Programme, Scotland is in a perfect position to exploit tourism as a key driver of the Scottish economy.  The events programme of 2014 presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to position Scottish tourism on the world stage and set up the second half of the decade for growth, investment and new Scottish jobs.  The success of 2013 gives us a platform to secure precisely that.”



Full year 2013 (Jan - December 2013) - Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have increased:  9.8%

Overseas spend has increased:  19.9%

Full year 2013 (Jan - December 2013) - Domestic visitors

Domestic visits have decreased:  -4.9%

Domestic spend has slightly decreased:  -0.1%

Year to date (Jan - Dec 2013)- Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have decreased:  -2.8%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has increased:  6.5%


Quarter 4 (October – December 2013) - Overseas visitors

Overseas visits have increased: 20.1%

Overseas spend has increased: 27.7%

Quarter 4 (October – December 2013) - Domestic visitors

Domestic visits have decreased: -22.5%

Domestic spend has decreased: -9.8%

Quarter 4 (Oct – Dec 2013) - Combined domestic and overseas visitors

Combined overseas and domestic visits have decreased: -17.9%

Combined overseas and domestic spend has decreased:  -0.3%


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