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Article published 27/03/2024

Responding to changing consumer behaviour

As part of our strategy to grow the visitor economy, we’re making changes to the way we provide visitor information. With the majority of people planning their holidays online, we’ll focus on influencing visitors at the planning stage before they leave home. 

As a result, our network of information centres (iCentres) will close over the next two years. This will be done via a phased closure programme until the end of March 2026. 

This decision follows significant changes to the way people plan their holidays. This has led to a fall in demand for our iCentres with the majority of people now using online resources and travel specialists to plan and book all aspects of their trips. This includes arranging accommodation and activities before they arrive at their destination.   

We’re responding to this shift through investing our expertise and resources in a digital-first strategy to increase Scotland’s share of global travel. We will target channels we know visitors use to inspire and influence where they go, when they come and what they do, ensuring Scotland is a “must visit, must return” destination.  

We appreciate the integral part our iCentre teams play within many communities. Our staff are our priority throughout this change and we’re discussing with our iCentre team their options. There will be no compulsory redundancies.  

We’re also engaging with stakeholders to discuss local arrangements as we plan the closure programme.  

Our digital-first approach

Our new strategy supports our core purpose to drive the visitor economy and grow its value to Scotland.  It will ensure that we reach more people and influence visitors from Scotland’s key global markets. 

Importantly, our strategy will also support us in attracting visitors throughout the year and across Scotland, promoting lesser-known destinations and encouraging the spread of visitors.   

The way visitors access information and the sphere of influence has widened far beyond in-person and print media to include social media, influencer marketing, online inspiration and online booking. 

TikTok, YouTube, online travel websites and tools like AI are among the ways people now find and plan holiday experiences. 


We also know tour operators and travel agents have an important role to play, with almost two-thirds (64%) of international visitors to Scotland booking as part of a package.  

Scotland’s tourism industry has a proven track record of embracing change. Post-COVID, our collective efforts resulted in a strong recovery of international tourism with an increase in spend by international visitors to Scotland (to £1.5 billion in July - September 2023, up 16% in real terms from the same period in 2019 when adjusted for inflation).  

Together with businesses and our partners, we want to build on that success and ensure that across all areas of our work – marketing, destination development, business advice, insights and events – we prioritise the activities that will deliver for the industry and for Scotland.

Our iCentre team

As mentioned, our staff are our priority. The team have built up a close relationship with tourism businesses across the country and we’d like to thank the industry for their continued support throughout the years.  

The team's expertise and knowledge are a huge asset to VisitScotland, welcoming countless visitors over the years. We’re currently discussing future options with each valued team member.   

We will communicate more information as we finalise the closure programme with our staff and stakeholders.

Further information

Should you have any further questions, please email us at: 

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