Tourist spend in Scotland up 70% on pre-Covid level

Tourist spending in Scotland in the first three months of 2023 was 70% higher than pre-Covid levels, according to provisional data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS data showed overseas visitors to Scotland spent a total of £359 million during the first quarter of 2023 — up from £210 million in the same period of 2019.

The data also showed the number of overnight visits to Scotland made by people from outside the UK had also increased, rising from 443,000 in January to March 2019 to 572,000 in the first three months of 2023 — an increase of 29%.

The majority of visitors to Scotland in the first three months of this year were from Europe, with 407,000 spending at least one night here.

There were also 70,000 visitors from the US and 94,000 from other nations, the data showed.

Tourism minister Richard Lochhead said: “These encouraging statistics show that tourist numbers and spending in Scotland has recovered faster than the rest of the UK – and overseas visitors are returning to Scotland in greater numbers following the pandemic …

“Scotland is an increasingly attractive destination for international tourists.

“I am confident that Scotland’s unique culture, history and landscapes, plus global events such as the Scottish Open Golf Championship, next month’s UCI World Cycling Championships and Edinburgh’s world-renowned festivals, will further drive tourist numbers over the summer.”