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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.
  • Please note there is a planned review of the growth sector databases by the Scottish Government in light of Scotland’s new National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
  • VisitScotland plan to assess our tourism employment statistics in more detail following this review and when 2022 statistics become available (expected November 2023).

1. 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 that make up the sustainable tourism sector as defined by Scottish Government. These are:

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


2. Key statistics


people employed in the tourism sector in Scotland in 2021


people employed in the tourism sector in Edinburgh in 2021


people employed in the tourism sector in Glasgow in 2021

Source: Scottish Growth Sector Statistics, 2021

3. 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 the Scottish Government website

4. Additional research resources

Related links