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Haste ye back to Scotland!

Scotland’s reputation as a must-visit, must-return destination is growing according to new research by VisitScotland.

54794-urquhart-castle-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgUrquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

The Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 found that 82% of visitors are likely to recommend Scotland to others, compared to 75% when the survey was last conducted in 2015/2016. It also showed that more than three quarters (80%) of visitors said they are quite or very likely to come back to the country in the next five years.

86896-the-royal-mile-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Royal Mile in Edinburgh © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

With tourism worth an estimated £10.6bn to the economy, repeat visits and word of mouth recommendations have become vital for many businesses still recovering from challenges posed by the pandemic and the cost of living. The recent figures also show that international tourism in Scotland is recovering at a stronger rate than other UK nations and regions.

90319-skara-brae-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgSkara Brae Prehistoric Village, Orkney, Scotland © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Typically conducted every three or four years, this is the first time the Scotland Visitor Survey has been undertaken since the pandemic. It aims to help understand why visitors take a holiday or short break in Scotland and how they rate their experiences when there.

From March to October 2023, visitors were surveyed both while in Scotland and when they returned home to help build a complete picture of their journey from start to finish.

97895-glenfinnan-monument-loch-shiel-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Paul_Tomkins_-_Copy.jpgGlenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

As well as looking at the profile of visitors and their experiences, the first wave of results also focused on motivations and inspiration.

Other highlights included:

  • Scenery and landscape was the top reason visitors chose Scotland (70%), followed by history and culture (48%), outdoor activities (27%), visiting friends and family (22%) Scotland’s people (21%) and visiting attractions (19%).
  • Over half of visitors said personal recommendations were the most influential source of inspiration.
  • 71% of visitors rated their experience in Scotland as a 9 out of 10 or higher.
  • Almost 60% of long-haul visitors stated this was the best holiday they had ever taken.

104993-va-dundee-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgV&A Dundee - the new design museum in Dundee © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Scotland’s Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s visitor sector is of huge importance to our economy, and these results showcase the strength, creativity and ingenuity of our tourism providers, who continue to offer a vast choice of unique events, attractions and experiences to visitors from all over the world. Scotland can be proud.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “This valuable research gives us an important benchmark for where Scotland’s tourism offering is, post pandemic, helping inform and drive our activities as an industry going forward. Knowing what our visitors think and what they want is crucial in ensuring Scotland is kept front of mind in a competitive marketplace.”

109074-rosslyn-chapel-medium_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgRosslyn Chapel, which featured in the Da Vinci Code © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Janet Redler, Managing Director of Janet Redler Travel, said: “Scotland is a fabulous destination, with so much to see and do, so it’s great news that over 80% of visitors are likely to recommend Scotland to others, and well over three quarters plan to return. We know from our tours just how popular the country is and we are looking forward to taking many more people in 2024 and beyond.”

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of Scotland, exploring the dramatic scenery, discovering the fascinating history and enjoying the unique culture, please do contact our friendly team today.

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