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Visit Scotland | Alba

The latest research into our international markets and how COVID-19 is impacting plans to visit Scotland

Explore below feedback from our international marketing teams and insight from the latest social listening. 

In this section:

Market intelligence update: Europe

Market intelligence update: Australia, Canada, China, USA, GCC and India

The latest marketing insights from Australia, Canada, China, the USA, GCC and India gathered from our VisitScotland marketing teams. 

International COVID-19 sentiment research

In partnership with VisitBritain, Visit Wales, and London & Partners, research was commissioned to understand international consumer sentiment towards international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third phase of the International Consumer Sentiment Research has now been completed (fieldwork 23 August - 6 September 2021) covering 13 markets; Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Irish Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, USA​ – sample size 7,500 respondents who have travelled abroad at least once in the past three years​.

  • Desire to travel internationally remains very high and has increased in all markets surveyed. Eight in 10 respondents now intend to travel internationally certainly or probably in the coming 12 months showing a steady and more established desire to travel despite prolonged pandemic uncertainties.
  • By age, whilst younger demographics still have the highest propensity to travel there is a growing sentiment for travel for older generations as the vaccination rate increases. It is actually those aged 55+ who are more likely to have already decided (and booked) their next international leisure trip.
  • Overall, over 4 in 10 (43%) have a clear plan in mind about where they want to go but only 13% have booked their trip, making the destination choice still open for the next year. The USA, Netherlands, Germany and Irish Republic are the most likely to have booked their trip. The majority of leisure intenders having Britain destinations in mind had booked with the majority still considering a wider set of destinations.  
  • Markets are still primarily motivated by holidays to take their leisure trip (86%) but stable proportion still express interest to visit friends and/or relatives (34%) showing the continued pent up demand to connect with others in the current climate. 
  • A combination of health and money-related factors are still top for triggering bookings for international travel in the next 12 months, however, a money-back guarantee is now the number one activator for trip planning. 
  • Travellers’ intentions show increasing expectations for living the full destination experience, including socialising activities and a high demand for food-related experiences.​
  • Europe continues to be the most popular global region, with 63% of respondents saying they would consider travelling there. This is most pronounced in short haul markets (75% would consider it), but Europe remains top in long haul markets too (48%). 13% of those interested in leisure trips in Europe would consider Britain specifically.
  • Regarding top European destinations for travellers, Britain has increased its competitive ranking in most short haul markets except Germany and Spain, with a top 3 spot in the Nordic markets, Italy, and the Irish Republic. Its position is much higher in long haul markets, being the top European destination for China and Australia, and in the top four for India, Canada and the US – although the latter two are down by one each compared to wave 2.
  • Overall perceptions of all Britain destinations in term of COVID-19 safety have improved, with 2/3 of respondents now rating it as COVID-19 safe – as opposed to December 2020, where they were in the minority. This has increased the most since March 2021 for Australian and Chinese respondents specifically, but also in closer markets like France and Spain.
  • For destinations within Britain, 55% are interested in England, 39% in Scotland, and 18% in Wales (multiple answers allowed). Long haul markets are generally more interested in all three, with India listing the most interest in all three regions. Germany was the only nation to list Scotland higher than England (40% vs 38%) although Spain was tied for both (49% each).

Visit the Visit Britain website for a summary of the research