Snapped! New survey puts Scotland's visitors in focus


VisitScotland today revealed the most in-depth visitor research ever carried out by the organisation.


Harnessing the views of nearly 2000 visitors, The Scotland Visitor Survey asked holiday makers what they thought of Scotland and what particular aspects appealed. The results offer a fascinating and diverse ‘snap shot’ of what Scotland’s visitors look like.


The Scotland Visitor Survey shows Scotland continues to charm the world with 98% of visitors likely to recommend the country to others, and a further 84% planning to make a return trip in the next five years.


Scotland’s renowned hospitality came up trumps with 84% saying they were impressed with accommodation providers’ friendly and efficient service. A warm welcome also proved important to visitors when they were out and about with some 75% relishing the chance to interact with local people and attend local events and festivals.


This new survey also illustrates that the holiday experience doesn’t necessarily stop at the end of the trip. Social networking is fast becoming an integral part of the visitor experience with over half now going online after they return home and uploading photos, updating facebook and leaving reviews.


The survey went on to ask about visitor experiences within the network of VisitScotland Information Centres around the country and found 90% of those asked received a friendly and efficient service.


Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said:


“This survey confirms what those of us who are lucky enough to call Scotland home already know - that we have one of the world’s greatest destinations right on our doorstep. It’s hugely encouraging to see that thanks to the hard work of tourism ambassadors right across the industry, from the smallest B&B to the largest resort hotel, we’re not only meeting but in many cases exceeding the expectations of our visitors.


But there’s never any room for complacency. Tourism has the potential to be our most powerful asset, but we all need to work together to make the most of every opportunity - especially give the fact that around a third of our visitors are here for the first time. As we enter The Winning Years we have even more to offer our visitors, with the Year of Creative and the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth games just around the corner we’ve a world class offering and there’s never been a better time to shout about it.”


Tourism Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP said:


“These results are testament to the quality, strength and work of Scotland’s tourism industry.  The survey shows 98 per cent of visitors are likely to recommend Scotland to others and 84 per cent plan to return within five years, suggesting high levels of satisfaction amongst people who holiday here.


“The Scottish Government is working with VisitScotland, other agencies and the industry to ensure all visitors to Scotland receive the warmest of welcomes and a unique, enjoyable experience that will help to foster fond bonds, resulting in return visits and recommendations to family and friends.


“These results build on new statistics published earlier this month, which show Scotland’s tourism industry is strengthening. In the first nine months of 2011 we saw an eight per cent increase in visitors to Scotland. 


“This is an exciting time for tourism in Scotland as we have many major events and milestones to look forward to, including the release of Disney-Pixar’s Brave this year, the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games in 2014. We are working tirelessly to ensure we capitalise on the economic opportunities these major events offer, and further strengthen Scotland’s global reputation as a great place to visit.”


The research was carried out for VisitScotland by TNS Research International over the main July to October season, and includes a wide ranging dissection of our country’s visitor experiences looking at everything from travelling habits, activities to social media usage. A second phase of the Scotland Visitor Survey will take place this summer, with visitors being interviewed between July and October 2012.


Full report is available by here clicking here, along with selected regional surveys from around the country.




For further information please contact:

James Fox
Corporate Press Officer
Corporate Communications
Tel: 0131 472 2052


Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews

  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation has three key roles:
    1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
    2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
    3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • The years between 2012 and 2014 are Scotland’s Winning Years - From the Year of Creative Scotland, the Olympics and Disney-Pixar’s film Brave in 2012 through to the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and Homecoming in 2014 everyone has the chance to prosper.
  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and is a chance to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage. More information about the programme can be found at:
  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
  • More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face to face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • Tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland. The industry generates £11 billion revenue annually (including day visits). Tourism supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to
Delivering for tourism Image of front cover of document VisitScotland activity highlights VisitScotland activity
Working for Us VisitScotland employees Job vacancies at VisitScotland Vacancies
Holidays in Scotland People Link to VisitScotland's Holiday site Holiday Information