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Visit Scotland | Alba

Overview

  • The domestic sentiment tracker has been running since May 2020. It explores the likelihood of UK residents to travel both within the UK (and abroad) and when and where they plan to go.
  • The study started as one that tracked intentions during the pandemic. It now explores the impact of new barriers such as the cost-of-living crisis. The research also looks at planned and future intentions to take trips.
  • The research is commissioned by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales and is conducted by BVA BDRC.
  • The latest report for Scotland looks at intended trips between April and September 2024. The report looks at those who state they intend to visit Scotland and also the intentions of those resident in Scotland.
  • The next Scotland report will be available in August 2024.

Domestic sentiment tracker: Scotland level summary

Published May 2024

1. Executive summary

The latest report for Scotland is based on data collected from fieldwork conducted between February and April 2024. It reports on intended UK trips for April to September 2024.

  • The general impact of the cost-of-living crisis

    The cost-of-living crisis is still strongly influencing domestic trip taking. Compared to the last wave we reported on, there are no clear changes to the personal impact of the crisis. Around 7 in 10 continue to either been "hit hard" or are being "cautious and careful".

    Looking at perceptions of the crisis, there are some signs of improvement. The public are less pessimistic about the future than at any point since June 2022 (although few think things will get better).

    The impact of the crisis across life stages differs considerably. Retirees the least negatively impacted and older independents the most. Higher incomes are also unsurprisingly less impacted.

  • The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on travel intentions

    Over half of the UK and Scottish population anticipate the crisis to impact their UK overnight trips and day trips.

    Key ways the public anticipate to cut back is by:

    • "spending less on eating out"
    • "choosing cheaper accommodation"
    • "looking for more free things to do"

    69% of UK residents intend to take a UK holiday or short break in spring or summer 2024. This proportion is relatively flat compared to previous waves where intentions had been higher than the year before. We will continue to monitor if this is a sign of a slow down in domestic trip taking.

    A strong caveat, however, is that there remains an "intentions gap". Past waves of research show that actual trips taken is often lower than intended trips as some of these trips may not materialise.

  • Intentions to visit Scotland

    Intentions to holiday in Scotland are holding strong for spring and summer 2024 (at a consistent level with the year before).

    Scotland is the fourth most popular destination in the UK for spring and summer trips. It's marginally behind  the South West of England, London and the North West of England.

    The majority of Scotland trip intenders are set to come from outside of Scotland. London, North West of England and South East of England are driving the strongest numbers.

    Scotland is the destination in the UK with the lowest "already booked" and the highest "yet to decide where to go".  

    The non-bookers are more likely to be financially stretched, younger and living outside Scotland.  As non-Scotland residents stay longer and spend more, it is important to encourage non-bookers to book.

  • Trip length

    Trip lengths are set to be shorter than in 2023. Scotland short breaks more likely than longer breaks.

    Trip length does vary by destination type but all (other than rural coastline trips) are set to experience a shift to shorter breaks.

  • Destination types

    The intention to visit Scotland’s large cities continues to increase, doubling compared to 2022.  Interest in visiting both Edinburgh and Glasgow have increased.

    However, if non-Scottish intenders do not book their trips, Scotland’s large cities may not see these intended trips materalise.

  • Motivations for Scotland trip intenders (April to September)

    Scotland domestic intenders visit Scotland for a range of reasons. Connecting with nature is the leading most "tangible" reason. 

    Nature, food, and heritage are the key activities that domestic trip-takers intend to explore. Fun and adventure also makes up a sizeable minority.

  • Accommodation for Scotland trip intenders (April to September)

    "Hotel / motel / inn" is the number one accommodation type for Scotland intended trips in April to September 2024.

    However, intention to stay in a hotel has declined for the third consecutive wave, with "guesthouse" also dropping.

    Cheaper options like friends or relatives and Airbnb has increased for the second consecutive wave.

2. Definitions

A number of terms are used within this research study.

Trip intenders / trip takers are:

  • UK residents who state their next holiday or short break will be between April and September 2024
  • Scotland trip intenders refers to those who state their holiday will be in Scotland
  • Scotland resident trip intenders refers to those who are resident in Scotland only

This research is a study about people's perceptions, travel intentions and reassurance needed for future travel. Travel intent should therefore be interpreted as travel desire and not actual booking behaviour.

3. Methodology

The study uses a monthly online survey based on a UK nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults aged 16 and over. The sample is then boosted in Scotland to ensure sufficient base sizes for separate national analysis.

In total, 1,750 surveys are completed, of which 250 are Scotland residents. The study is conducted by BVA BDRC.

The latest Scotland report aggregates the results from waves of fieldwork conducted between February and April 2024.

Further information on the methodology is available within the PDF report to download.

Further information on the data

Related links