Overseas Tourism Worth £2.3billion to Scotland’s Economy

2017 was a record year for tourism in Scotland with visitors from overseas contributing £2.3billion to the economy. Scotland’s beautiful landscapes, its history and visitor services all combine to add value to this important sector of the economy. The Outlander effect was also thought to have encouraged visits.


The fall in the £ against the Euro also enabled a trip to Scotland more affordable to those from Europe with 1.9million taking up that opportunity.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:

Stones of Stenness

“These outstanding results show that Scotland can compete on a global stage.

“Using our unrivalled beauty, rich history, pioneering partnerships and innovative thinking we are communicating with visitors from every corner of the world.

“Groundbreaking apps, creative digital campaigns and inspirational content means we can reach visitors and potential visitors at every step of their journey, informing the visitors of today and inspiring the visitors of tomorrow.

“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth. Buoyed by the success of today’s figures we look forward to continue working with our partnerships across every aspect of the tourism industry to make sure Scotland is at the top of everyone’s list to live and work, invest, study and visit.”

VisitScotland‘s digital campaign is thought to have contributed to the rise.

Fiona Hyslop, Tourism Secretary in the Scottish Government said:

Fiona Hyslop Scot Gov head and shoulders“These figures show 2017 was a record year for overseas tourists visiting and spending money in Scotland, which is great news for the industry and our economy.

“Tourism is one of our most important industries, employing 207,000 people, creating jobs, supporting the local economy and building on our strong international reputation.

 “As we get closer to the UK’s departure from the EU, we will continue to do all we can to ensure people from across the EU and elsewhere are welcome to work in our tourism sector and visit our beautiful, vibrant country.”

cruise ship MSC Meraviglia 02/05/2018 F Grahame

Orkney’s cruise ship figures continue on an upward trend. The vessels booked to call in for 2018 numbered 143 with those registered for 2019 standing at 157.

The cruise ships vary in size with the largest to visit Orkney so far being the MSC Meraviglia with nearly 5,000 passengers. Orkney provides free shuttle buses to take passengers into Kirkwall where staff are on hand to provide more information.

The visitor figures were up for the whole of the UK although not anywhere near as successful as those for Scotland. The numbers travelling for business was down. UK tourism to overseas destinations was also up with 72.8 million visits by UK residents in 2017.

travel trends ONSThe figures published on Travel Trends are from the Office of National Statistics.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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2 replies »

  1. Suppose that you’ll all have heard by now that our ‘wonderful’ border force, delayed passengers from getting ashore by over three hours this week and a lot of the passengers, visitors from Englandshire were not too well pleased. Hope they take it up with the Home Office when they get home????

  2. Whoops should have put, …….getting ashore in Lerwick by over…………

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