Visitor spending in Scotland up 7% to £5bn

Latest statistics from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the number of overseas tourists visiting Scotland increased 15% in the 12 months to September 2017.

The surge was driven by a big rise in European visitors.

The statistics show 20% more visitors from Europe visited Scotland – a total of 1.8 million – and spent £1.1 billion, 24% more than during the previous 12 months.

For the UK as a whole, the increase in European visitors in this period was lower, at 6%, with expenditure up 1%.

The number of visitors to Scotland overall, both overseas and domestic, increased by 2% to 14.1 million and expenditure was up 7% to £5 billion for the 12 month period.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “It is very encouraging that many more Europeans are choosing to come to Scotland.

“This is testament, not only to our world-class landscapes and our vibrant cities but also to the welcome and warmth of our people.

“These figures also show that, when combining overseas and domestic tourism, total expenditure was more than £5 billion, highlighting the economic importance of tourism to supporting communities throughout Scotland.

“As the analysis we published earlier this week underlines, Brexit poses a significant threat to our economy, including tourism.

“We will continue to say loud and clear that people from the EU and elsewhere are welcome to work in our tourism sector and to visit us.”