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Overview

  • The Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) is a national consumer survey. It measures the volume and value of domestic overnight tourism trips taken by residents of Great Britain. This study provides information about trip and visitor characteristics. It covers all aspects of tourism such as holidays, visits to friends and relatives and trips for business and other purposes.

  • The following data tracks the volume and value of domestic overnight tourism trips by British residents in Great Britain.

  • The statistics from 2021 onwards are based on a new combined online survey. This one replaces the separate Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) and Great Britain Day Visits Survey (GBDVS) which ran until the end of 2019. Methodology and quality reports are available for further detail. This includes guidance on limitations of comparability with data up until 2019.
  • The survey is jointly sponsored by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales. The survey is currently undertaken by independent research agency, BMG. Together with the Great Britain Day Visitor Survey (GBDVS), the surveys are the largest and most comprehensive surveys of GB domestic travel.
  • The next report (quarter four 2023) is due in April 2024.

1. Executive summary of Scotland's overnight tourism performance 2023

Estimates for the volume and value of overnight domestic trips taken by British residents in Scotland and Great Britain will be released by quarter during 2023. A final report for the full year will then follow later.

Quarter 3 (July to September)

  • Great Britain residents took 3.8 million overnight trips in Scotland with 11.1 million nights and £1.03 billion spent during these trips.

    The average spend on an overnight trip in Scotland was £273 compared to £268 average for an overnight trip in Great Britain. The average spend per night in Scotland was £92 compared to the GB average of £85.

  • The third quarter of 2023 saw a higher level of overnight trips, nights, and spend to Scotland than the first two quarters of the year.

    Levels of trips and spend to Scotland had increased by 4% compared with the same quarter in 2022. The volume of nights on these trips had decreased by 8% when compared to the third quarter of 2022.

  • Holiday visits were the most popular type of overnight trip to Scotland during the third quarter of 2023. This was followed by visits to friends and family and other types of trip.

  • Cities and large towns were the preferred locations for most overnight visitors to Scotland during the third quarter of 2023. This was followed by countryside / villages.

Great Britain Tourism Survey: Quarter 3 2023

Published February 2024

Quarter 2 (April to June)

  • Great Britain residents took 2.8 million overnight trips in Scotland with £736 million spent during these trips. The average spend on an overnight trip in Scotland was £260 compared to £270 average for an overnight trip in GB.

  • The volume of overnight trips, night, and expenditure in Scotland during the second quarter of 2023 was slightly lower compared to the same period in 2022.

  • Holiday visits were the most popular type of overnight trip to Scotland during the second quarter of 2023. This was followed by visits to friends and family and other types of trip.

  • Cities and large towns were the preferred location for most overnight visitors to Scotland. This was followed by small towns and countryside / villages.

Great Britain Tourism Survey: Quarter 2 2023

Published October 2023

Updated February 2024

Quarter 1 (January to March)

  • Great Britain residents took 2.7 million overnight trips in Scotland with £641 million spent during these trips. The average spend on an overnight trip in Scotland was £234 compared to £266 average for an overnight trip in Great Britain.

  • The volume of overnight trips, nights, and expenditure in Scotland during the first quarter of 2023 were lower compared to the same period in 2022.

Great Britain Tourism Survey: Quarter 1 2023 (January - March)

Published September 2023

Life stage definitions updated November 2023

2. Executive summary 2022

13.5 million

overnight trips in Scotland by GB residents in 2022

40.9 million

nights in Scotland by GB residents in 2022

£3.4 billion

total overnight spend in Scotland by GB residents in 2022

Source: Great Britain Tourism Survey, 2022

Great Britain Tourism Survey 2022

Published September 2023

Life stage definitions updated November 2023, purpose of trip figures updated December 2023

  • In 2022, Great Britain residents took 13.5 million overnight trips in Scotland with 40.9 million nights and £3.4 billion spent overall. These estimates are based on a sample of 1,537 trips.

  • 36% of overnight trips to Scotland during this period were holidays, 30% visits to friends or relatives, 19% were for ‘other’ purposes, and 9% were business trips.

  • 11% of all GB trips included an overnight stay in Scotland, with the share of total GB nights also at 11% and the share of spend at 10%.

  • Quarter three (July to September) and quarter four (October to December) had the highest number of trips at 3.6 million and 3.8 million, respectively. The third quarter had the most nights spent in Scotland (12.1 million), whereas the final quarter of the year had the highest level of spend (£999 million).

  • The average duration of Scotland trips during the reporting period was 3.0 nights with an average spend per trip of £253.

Methodology (2022)

Please note that we based the estimates and statistics in this release on a new combined online survey. This replaces the separate Great Britain Tourism Survey and Great Britain Day Visits Surveys that ran until the end of 2019.

As such there is very limited comparability between historic results and the results published from 2021. These statistics have an experimental status and may be subject to change.

Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) - methodology and quality 2022

Published September 2023

Great Britain Tourism Survey 2022 - background quality report

Published September 2023

3. Executive summary of Scotland's overnight tourism performance in 2021 (April - December)

  • Between April and December 2021, Great Britain residents took 9.8 million overnight trips in Scotland with 33.4 million nights and £2.2 billion spent overall. These estimates are based on a sample of 1,228 trips.

  • 42% of overnight trips to Scotland during this period were holidays.

    33% were visits to friends or relatives.

    12% were for "other" purposes.

    8% were business trips.

  • 11% of all GB trips included an overnight stay in Scotland, with the share of total GB nights and the share of spend both also at 11%.

  • There was a gradual increase in overnight trips taken in Scotland from April 2021 onwards. This rose to a peak in the third quarter (July-September) with 4.7 million trips, 16.4 million nights and spend of £1.1 billion.

  • The average duration of Scotland trips during the reporting period was 3.4 nights with an average spend per trip of £225.

Great Britain Tourism Survey 2021 (April - December) revised

Published September 2023

Life stage definitions updated November 2023

Methodology (2021)

Please note that we based the estimates and statistics in this release on a new combined online survey. This replaces the separate Great Britain Tourism Survey and Great Britain Day Visits Surveys that ran until the end of 2019.

As such there is very limited comparability between historic results and the results published from 2021. These statistics have an experimental status and may be subject to change.

Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) - methodology and quality 2021 revised

Published September 2023

Life stage definitions updated November 2023

Great Britain Tourism Survey 2021 - background quality report

Published September 2023

4. Previous reports

Domestic overnight trip profile: 2017-2019 average annual figures

Published May 2020

The GB tourist 2019 annual report

Published August 2020

5. Definitions

To qualify as an eligible GB domestic overnight trip, visitors had to have:

  • stayed at least one night in the nations of Great Britain
  • not taken on their trip a frequent basis / less than once a week
Term Definition
GB domestic overnight holiday trips The main purpose of the trip was for holiday, pleasure or leisure.
GB domestic overnight "visiting friends and relatives" trips The main purpose of the trip was for visiting friends and relatives, including such trips that visitors combined with a holiday.
GB domestic overnight business trips The main purpose of the trip was for business.
GB domestic overnight miscellaneous trips The main purpose of the trip was for any other type of trip taken not covered by the previous classifications. These include: personal events, public events, study, medical, religious reasons, any overnight stays in the UK as part of any overseas trip.
Volume An estimate of what the grossed-up number of overnight trips if the sample would be representative of the whole GB population.
Value An estimate of the total expenditure if the sample would be representative of the whole GB population.
Bednights An estimate of the grossed-up number of nights spent on overnight trips if the sample would be representative of the whole GB population​.

These criteria and definitions have been revised to align with agreed international standards. This impacts on comparability of the domestic overnight tourism estimates from 2021 onwards from those published in 2019 and previous years.

Further methodology reports are available to download.

6. Official statistics and partners

The Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) is a national consumer survey. It's produced as per the Code of Practice for Official Statistics (2022) as published by the Office for Statistics Regulation.

VisitScotland jointly sponsors the survey with our partners VisitEngland and Visit Wales.

Read more about the Code of Practice for Official Statistics (2022) on gov.uk.

Related links