Let's look at the purpose of trip that motivates international visits to Scotland in 2021. It's significantly different to that seen before the pandemic. Travelling with the purpose of visiting friends and / or relatives makes up half of all visits to Scotland in 2021, compared with 25% in 2019.
Holiday trips in 2021 totalled 6% of pre-pandemic volume. Visiting friends and relations outperformed it in both total volume and against 2019 proportions. This is despite visiting friends and relations only achieving 28% of 2019 level of visitation.
This increase in those visiting friends and relations within the visitor mix has resulted in longer stays (16 days). But compared to a traditional leisure visitor, this group is likely to spend less on:
- Food and drink
There was a trend of higher expenditure per trip across all purposes of travel. Holiday expenditure per trip was up 26% on 2019 levels, driven by longer stays and a desire to maximise time in destination in line with effort to travel.
Short haul visitors made up the majority (73%) of visits to Scotland in 2021. This is in line with international consumer sentiment towards travel to the UK and Scotland.
The volume of visits from the North American market, a traditional market of strength for Scotland, was down 89% on 2019 levels.
European markets showed slightly more resilience at 81% down on 2019 levels).
“Other countries” were down 95% on pre-pandemic visitor volumes. The previously rapidly growing market of China falls under the category "other countries".