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On this page you will find two key pieces of research:

  • Our topic paper on coastal tourism in Scotland. The paper explores the appeal of Scotland’s coastal destinations for visitors. Download the paper for statistics on domestic and international coastal tourism.
  • Our topic paper on the health benefits of being near water. The paper explores how UK consumers feel about being near water. It also delves into how tourism businesses can benefit from this health and wellbeing trend.

1. Coastal tourism in Scotland

Coastal and seaside destinations are a vital part of Scotland’s tourism proposition. They attract visitors from within Scotland, from further afield in the UK, as well as from overseas.

The number of domestic day visitors to Scotland’s coastal destinations remained fairly stable. Both after and prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they saw around 16 million visitors annually.

Key statistics

1.8 million

Domestic overnight trips annually to seaside and coastal locations in Scotland

£391 million

Average annual domestic overnight spend

Source: Volume and value of domestic overnight visitors, Great Britain Tourism Survey 2015-2019

Coastal tourism in Scotland: Seas the day!

Published May 2021

2. The health benefits of being near water

In 2021, to support the Year of Coasts and Waters, we commissioned YouGov plc to investigate UK consumer attitudes. The research found that many UK adults feel that being near water has several benefits to their health and wellbeing.

Key statistics


Of people felt being near water had a general calming effect


Of people experienced reduced stress levels


Of people saw a reduction in anxiety and depression


Of people felt being near water helped their sleep

Source: YouGov plc UK Consumer Omnibus for VisitScotland, May 2021 Total sample size was 2103 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19 and 20 May 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

The health benefits of being near water

Published May 2021

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