Tourism employment up 11% to 217,000

The number of people working in Scottish tourism rose 11% to 217,000 between 2014 and 2015 — representing roughly 9% of Scotland’s total employment, according to new data cited by VisitScotland.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on show the highest Scottish tourism employment level since Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) records began in 2009.

Edinburgh and Glasgow were the two biggest tourism employers with 34,600 (11% of employment total) and 30,800 (8%) respectively.

Argyll and Bute, however, is the region where tourism is most crucial for employment.

The 6,500 tourism workers in Argyll and Bute represented 17% of total jobs in that region.

The 15,700 tourism workers in the Highlands made up 14% of the region’s total, the same percentage as Perth and Kinross, which employed 8,700 people in the industry.

West Dunbartonshire, home to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, saw a 41% jump to 3,100 employees, while Outer Hebrides and Dundee enjoyed increases of 22% (to 1,100) and 20% (to 6,000) respectively.

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 7% increase — to 89,000 — in the number of people working in Scotland’s restaurants.

At 41%, restaurants made up the biggest sector of the Scottish tourism industry.

More than 53,000 worked in hotels and other accommodation — up 14% to comprise almost a quarter of the total.

About 37,200 were involved in “beverage serving activities” — a sector which saw a 27% increase on 2014 to comprises 17% of the total.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our tourism industry is going from strength to strength and these figures serve to highlight the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s economy.

“They also show how important the industry is to our rural and coastal economies.

“Our food and drink sectors continue to play an important role in attracting our visitors and creating employment opportunities.

“Scotland is famed for its warm welcome, incredible scenery and top class attractions.

“This was illustrated recently when Scotland was ranked second in the Rough Guides list of the best countries in the world to visit in 2017.”

VisitScotland CEO Malcolm Roughead said: “Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.

“These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow.”