Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 24/01/2024

International passenger stats

International tourism in Scotland is recovering at a stronger rate than other UK nations and regions, new figures have revealed.  

Covering July to September 2023, the Office of National Statistics latest quarterly figures for the International Passenger Survey (IPS) have been published. They show there was 1,438,000 visits to Scotland from international visitors, an increase of 6% on the same period in 2022 and a rise of more than a 14% on quarter three in 2019. 

Over the summer months, international visitors spent almost £1.5 billion, up 6% on the same quarter in 2022. When adjusted for inflation, this means that in real terms, visitor spend in that period was up by 16% from quarter three in 2019. 

The main purpose of trips for international visitors travelling to Scotland last summer was holidays, making up two thirds (66%) of visits and over three quarters of spend (76%). 

European visitors were responsible for just over half of all trips during that period, followed by North American visitors. Scotland was the only UK region to record an increase in visitors from North America last summer. 

Visitors taking selfie

Visitors smiling and taking a selfie together

Stats at a glance


visits to Scotland from international visitors


increase of international visitors on the same period in 2022


increase on quarter three in 2019

Almost 1.5 billion

international visitors spent over summer 2023

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive

Responding to the latest IPS update, Malcolm Roughead, our Chief Executive, said "Today’s figures are further evidence of the indisputable allure of Scotland for international visitors."

He went on to say "Our overseas visitors stay longer and spend more, which in turn supports the visitor economy. They are a crucial market for our industry, particularly while domestic visitors adjust to the cost-of-living challenges.


We must continue building that demand, especially across key markets, such as the US, Europe and the UK; inspiring visitors at those all-important planning stages and reaching them through the channels we know they use.

While we all continue to navigate the challenging economic landscape, our priority is to use our marketing, partnership work, and business support activities to grow appetite for Scotland from all visitors – near and far – and make Scotland a year-round, must-visit destination.” 

Related links