Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba


  • The people who work in tourism in Scotland are essential for creating a world class tourism experience. The sector is an important part of the Scottish economy, supporting business activities and employment opportunities across Scotland.
  • Data on tourism employment in Scotland is available via the Scottish Government Growth Sector Statistics.
  • The statistics are based on the sustainable tourism growth sector deffinition.
  • The latest data was released by the Scottish Government in December 2023. New data is due to be available at the end of 2024.

1. Key statistics


people employed in the tourism sector in Scotland in 2022


people employed in the tourism sector in Edinburgh in 2022


people employed in the tourism sector in Glasgow in 2022

Source: Scottish Growth Sector Statistics, December 2023

2. Summary of tourism employment

Source: Scottish Government Growth Sector Statistics, December 2023
  2019 2020 2021 2022
Tourism employment in Scotland 229,000  189,000 209,000 229,000

3. Summary of key indicators

Source: Scottish Government Growth Sector Statistics, December 2023
Indicator for Scotland Data % change from previous year Performance Latest data available
Tourism employment  229,000 10% Increasing 2022
Number of tourism businesses  15,830 -0.2% Stable 2023
Tourism turnover (£m)  £6,535 29% Increasing 2021
Total tourism GVA (£m) £3,366 31% Increasing 2021

Tourism employment accounts for 8.5% of total employment in Scotland in 2022.

The number of tourism businesses accounts for 9.2% of total businesses in Scotland in 2023.

4. Definitions

Tourism is one of the Scottish Government’s six Growth Sectors. The tourism growth sector is defined by the activity of 14 Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes. These make up the sustainable tourism sector as defined by Scottish Government.

SIC code


SIC 55.1

Hotels and similar accommodation

SIC 55.2

Holiday and other short-stay accommodation

SIC 55.3

Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks

SIC 56.1

Restaurants and mobile food service activities

SIC 56.3

Beverage serving activities

SIC 79.12

Tour operator activities

SIC 79.9

Other reservation service and related activities

SIC 91.02

Museum activities

SIC 91.03

Operation of historical sites and buildings and similar visitor attractions

SIC 91.04

Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities

SIC 93.11

Operation of sports facilities

SIC 93.199

Other sports activities (not including activities of racehorse owners)

SIC 93.21

Activities of amusement parks and theme parks

SIC 93.29

Other amusement and recreation activities

5. The economic contribution of the sector

More information on defining tourism and the wider visitor economy is available within a report commissioned by the Tourism Leadership Group in 2018.

Read the full report on


View more insights on the visitor economy. You can explore more graphs and visualisations on the Scottish Tourism Observatory.

Browse visitor economy insights on

6. Additional research resources

Related links