Our target markets


To ensure that we are marketing Scotland in the most effective and efficient way we need to focus our activities on the markets which offer the greatest current and future potential – i.e. the markets we anticipate will deliver the best return on investment.


VisitScotland’s market focus

The UK remains our biggest market and is of great importance to us; representing 81% of trips and 60% of spend (2014). We market Scotland to this domestic holiday market, basing our strategy on wide-ranging and detailed consumer information – our ‘consumer segmentation model’.


International markets are also extremely important to Scottish tourism. Because foreign visitors tend to stay longer than domestic visitors, their total expenditure during their visit is higher – so while 17% of the total number of trips made to Scotland in 2014 were by foreign visitors, this share provided around 38% of total expenditure.

To establish our international market focus, we used our insights into visitor spend in Scotland, growth potential and ease of access to Scotland – which we know is a major factor when people choose a destination to holiday in.

This, combined with our knowledge of each market’s travel behaviour and preferences, our ability to reach them and encourage them to visit, and our competitors’ activity in each market led us to identify our core markets as:


UK – Primary: London, South East, North East and North West England Secondary: Scotland
USA – New York
Germany – with particular focus on direct flight routes
France – Paris, North and South, with particular focus on direct flight routes


These countries also represent our highest traffic on the VisitScotland website with 82% of all visits, which equates to over 16.5 million visits (2015). 84% of all business referrals also come from these markets.


Other growth markets

Although these countries are our main focus, we complement this with lighter touch activity in other international markets that show considerable potential for growth.


The Travel Trade in these emerging markets – such as tour operators and travel agents – play a crucial role in providing holidaymakers with the information they need to choose a destination and plan their trip. To help grow these markets, our activity focuses on encouraging the trade to feature Scotland ahead of competitor destinations.


We also work closely with our partner organisation VisitBritain, which is tasked with marketing Britain in the emerging markets. For example, we recently attended VisitBritain’s Destination Britain China with eight Scottish partners to raise Chinese travellers' awareness of Scotland.


Gain more insight into visitors to Scotland, including their personal profiles, the characteristics of their trips and their attitudes and experiences of Scotland in our Visitor Research section.

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