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Visit Scotland | Alba


  • Our visitors from the United States of America are drawn to our small island. They like Scotland for its vast, green and majestic landscapes, its rich history and culture, and its reputation as the "Home of Golf".
  • The American visitor market to Scotland made a strong recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing pre pandemic levels for both visits and spend.
  • In 2022, the United States was once again Scotland’s largest international source market measured by number of visits, nights and spend.
  • In 2022, American visitors accounted for 21% of all overseas trips to Scotland and 38% of all overseas spend in Scotland.
  • Our United States factsheet 2022 highlights the latest annual data on the volume and value of American visitors to Scotland from the International Passenger Survey (IPS). More information regarding this survey is noted in the official statistics and partners section.

United States factsheet 2022

Published July 2023

Key statistics


total number of trips by American visitors to Scotland in 2022

6.6 million

total number of nights spent in Scotland by American visitors in Scotland in 2022

£1,197 million

total spend by American visitors to Scotland in 2022


average nights per trip by American visitors to Scotland in 2022

Source: IPS, 2022 (numbers have been rounded)

1. Executive summary 2022

In 2022, the United States was once again Scotland’s largest international source market measured by number of visits, nights and spend.

In 2022 US visitors accounted for 21% of all overseas trips to Scotland and 38% of all overseas spend in Scotland.

The total number of by American visitors to Scotland increased by 9% in 2022 from pre-pandemic levels, reaching a record high over the last decade. Nights and spend also increased from pre-pandemic levels.

A shift in trip intention can be seen compared to pre-pandemic times, where there was a higher proportion of business visits and a lower proportion of visitors travelling to see friends and family.

View more graphs and charts on 

Source: IPS, 2022

2. Motivations to visit Scotland

In addition to the official statistics from the International Passenger Survey, we have talked to our American visitors across our research over a number of years.

We have found that being able to "feel" the mysteries of the past stands out for American visitors, in particular being able to see castles.

They also anticipate vast landscapes which (unlike the United States) are wild and not managed, green and not dry.

The American market wants to feel a spiritual connection with Scotland (the land, history and people). They also expect to "feel at home" when visiting Scotland.

3. Scotland Visitor Survey 2023

We are currently conducting a visitor survey across Scotland. We are speaking to overnight visitors on the ground in Scotland and then will follow up on their return home so that we get a full picture of their visitor experience.

As part of this, we will be speaking to a sample of our American visitors. The research will be in field until the end of the year and results will be available in 2024.

This research will not gather volume of visitors which is collected via the IPS but will look at their motivations for visiting, their experiences and how they have rated aspects of their trip.

4. VisitBritain MIDAS research 2022

In 2022, our partner, VisitBritain undertook comprehensive research with international leisure travellers. They spoke to global tourists from many markets, including the United States.

Whilst the research focuses on perceptions and experiences of Britain, there are insights which are useful for the Scottish tourism industry.

Visitors from the Americas seem to be full of energy. They are not looking for rest and relaxation, but destinations packed with loads to see and do and represent a wide range of diverse experiences in one place.

Long-haul markets or "rest of the world" see Britain more consistently as offering heritage and history, the ability to roam and explore a broad mix of "must-do" experiences (both old and new).

Read the full VisitBritain MIDAS research

5. Official statistics and partners

The International Passenger Survey is a continuous survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics. It covers all major air, sea and tunnel ports.

The survey provides detailed information on the numbers and types of visits made by people travelling to and from the UK.

Anonymous face to face interviews are undertaken with a sample of passengers entering and leaving the UK.

Find further information on the methodology of the survey available on the ONS website.

Find further information on all ONS publications and release of data.

Read how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on the IPS data collection.

6. Additional research resources

Related links