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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 07/09/2023

Trying local food and drink was one of the top activities for people enjoying a break in Scotland this year. Latest statistics from our consumer sentiment tracker show that indulging in regional delicacies was the second most popular activity for a Scottish summer holiday.

The statistics come as Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight celebrates ‘Discover what’s on your doorstep’ as its theme for 2023. The fortnight encourages people to explore the incredible produce in their regions and the businesses across Scotland, stocked everywhere from shops, restaurants, cafes and bars to delis and markets.

Key visitor statistics

43% of UK residents

Enjoy walking, hiking, or rambling on their holiday.

38% of UK residents

Indulge in regional delicacies on their holiday.

37% of UK residents

Visit heritage sites (i.e., castles and historic houses) on their holiday.

30% of UK residents

Enjoy nature and wildlife experiences on their holiday.

Latest statistics from the domestic sentiment tracker, which explores UK residents' travel intentions. VisitScotland, VisitEngland, and Visit Wales commissioned this research.

Over the last five years, food and drink has continued to be an important part of the visitor experience.

Research from 2021 showed that 75% of Scottish residents thinking about future holidays or short breaks in Scotland would be willing to choose independent local shops, cafés, or restaurants in Scotland.

More than half (53%) would be willing to pay more for locally sourced and produced food and drink.

Local restaurants, cafes, delis, and farm shops are an integral part of the visitor economy, supporting jobs and enhancing an area’s tourism offering. Pre-pandemic, it was estimated that visitors spend around £1 billion on eating and drinking when they’re on holiday in Scotland.

Browse our domestic sentiment tracker.

Browse our food tourism related research papers.

Scotland’s food and drink has long been a jewel in our tourism crown. The country’s landscape, extensive coastline and history have shaped our incredible larder and made it world renowned.

Our research shows that consumers are looking to connect with the people and places associated with their food and drink purchases and there is a growing trend in artisanal food especially.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive

There has never been a more important time to engage with local food and drink producers and businesses – to encourage the traditional skills and food heritage, lessen the food miles, and help boost the economies of the communities in which these businesses are based.

It is crucial that visitors and Scots support local businesses where they can, and there is plenty on the menu to be savoured, with Scotland serving stunning scenery, mouth-watering food and drink and totally new experiences.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive

More information on food tourism

Discover ways in which your business can better cater to those coming to Scotland to enjoy our food and drink.

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