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Visit Scotland | Alba


  • Tourism is a force for good, creating economic and social value across communities in Scotland.

  • We engaged with our local communities and listened to the views on the ground to conduct research with Scotland's residents.

  • The research was commissioned by VisitScotland and carried out by 56 Degrees Insight.

  • We studied how Scotland’s residents feel about the Scottish tourism industry. We explored their opinion on the role of tourism and the positive and negatives of tourism.

  • Fieldwork took place between 27 October and 4 November 2021 and 1,000 respondents completed an online survey. Further information on the sample is available within the full report to download.

Full report - A focus on the role of Scotland's residents' views on tourism 2021

Published March 2022

A focus on the role of tourism and community engagement.

1. Key statistics from the research


agree that tourism in Scotland helps us to develop a positive reputation overseas


agree that tourism adds to the vitality of Scotland's communities


agree that tourism helps to protect and conserve Scotland's built heritage


agree that tourism connects local communities to other cultures

2. Executive Summary

Views on tourism

  • There is an agreement amongst residents that the tourism industry is important for Scotland. 94% of respondents said they view the industry positively.
  • The wide-ranging role of tourism to Scotland was recognised by the residents we surveyed.

Positives and Negatives

  • The top-of-mind benefits about the industry were:
    • the economic benefits
    • the opportunity to showcase the beauty of Scotland
    • employment opportunities
  • The top-of-mind negatives associated with tourism were:
    • Overcrowding
    • increased litter
    • a negative carbon footprint / impact on climate change 

Perceptions on Local Area

  • Around a third of Scotland residents feel that the area they live in is undoubtedly a holiday or short break destination (32%). 33% feel their area is visited for holidays and short breaks by some people.
  • For those living in tourism areas, 84% agree that locally tourism supports jobs in food, retail and other sectors. 51% feel it adds to the amount of traffic on the roads and results in congestion and delays.

Recovery from Covid-19

  • 87% of those living in tourist areas believe that tourism will aid recovery of their local area from the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Methodology

The research used an online survey based on a representative sample of Scotland residents. The analysis provides a representative viewpoint of the Scottish adult population. The survey was commissioned by VisitScotland and carried out by 56 Degrees Insight.

Fieldwork took place between 27 October and 4 November 2021. Respondents were recruited from Yonder Data Solutions’ consumer panel. 1,000 respondents completed the survey.

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