Overseas visitors spent £3.2bn in Scotland in 2022

The Balmoral Hotel dominates the east end of Edinburgh city centre

International visitors spent £3.2 billion in Scotland last year, up 24% on 2019, according to the International Passenger Survey (IPS) tourism statistics for 2022 by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2022, 3.2 million international visits were made to Scotland – just 7% fewer than in 2019.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, Scotland set new Q4 records for both visits and spend.

There were 850,000 visits between October and December 2022, spending a total of £680 million — up 1% and 19% respectively on the same period of 2019.

Of the 3.2 million overnight visits to Scotland in 2022, about 58% were for holidays and 29% were to visit friends or relatives.

Scotland had the highest proportion of holiday visits compared with the other parts of the UK.

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “The return of international visitors marked a significant milestone in the recovery of Scotland’s valuable tourism and events industry.

“These visitors stay longer and spend more, helping support jobs and communities right across the country.

“It is clear that, despite the challenges of recent years, appetite for Scotland is strong.

“There is a real desire and demand for our world-class offering, particularly from important markets such as North America.

“Every region and destination in Scotland stands to benefit from this interest.

“VisitScotland is focused on building on these shoots of recovery.

“Our marketing, funding, partnership work and business support activities are all designed to ensure a quality experience for visitors and make Scotland a year-round, must-visit destination.

“With several businesses already reporting strong bookings for the year ahead;  increasing investment in the sector; new direct air routes and unmissable events such as the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, there is much to suggest that 2023 will be another good year for Scottish tourism.”