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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 24/05/2019

Number of visitors continues to increase

The number of European visitors to Scotland increased by 19% in 2018, according to official statistics released by the IPS (International Passenger Survey) today, 24 May.

Overall there was a 10% increase in visits from overseas visitors and a 1.2% increase in domestic (Great Britain) overnight visits to Scotland.

These increases compare to a 3% decrease in overseas tourism visits and a 6% decrease in overseas expenditure for the UK as a whole.

Amongst overseas visitors, Edinburgh ranks second behind London for visits and spend in UK towns. Scottish visitors' favourite overseas destination is Spain, followed by France, the US, Germany and Netherlands. Scottish residents made around 1.1 million visits to Spain.

I am pleased that Scotland’s reputation as a warm, welcoming country remains strong, and that an increasing number of visitors from the EU and beyond are coming to enjoy our varied heritage and breath-taking natural landscapes.

Our tourism industry is of vital importance to the Scottish economy. However, with the on-going uncertainty of EU Exit and the end of freedom of movement, coupled with rising costs for both businesses and individuals, the Scottish Government recognises we cannot take tourism success for granted. That is why we will continue to work to support the sustainable growth of the industry as it creates jobs, boosts the local and national economy and builds on our strong international reputation.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop

The IPS results show that Scotland is still a strong proposition for the European market, and our strategy of attracting visitors all year round is proving successful. Everything we do is about creating a passion for Scotland - building an army of advocates through innovative marketing, partnership, events and business excellence to create a destination and customer experience worth talking about.

The impact of tourism goes far beyond the holiday experience. It is vital to the Scottish economy, reaching every corner of the country, creating jobs, income and social change and these positive figures show that our European visitors appreciate Scotland is open and welcome them to see everything this beautiful country has to offer.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland