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10/10/13 09:35

Tourism visits and spend on the rise

Minister welcomes ‘encouraging’ first two quarters of 2013.

Expenditure and visits to Scotland by both international and domestic tourists has risen during the first half of 2013 according to official figures.

There was a 1.6 per cent increase in visits to Scotland from both British and international tourists from January to June 2013 compared to the same period of 2012. This brings the total number of tourists during this time to more than 6.5 million.

Spend by both international and British tourists also increased by 1.7 per cent, bringing overall tourism expenditure in Scotland to £1,813 million during the six month period.

Staycations are continuing to prove popular, with domestic holidays in Scotland up two per cent during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.

During the second quarter of 2013 (April to June) international visitors to Scotland also increased by two per cent on the same quarter of 2012.

When compared to the previous year (July 2011 to June 2012 compared with July 2012 to June 2013) there was a one per cent decrease in total number of visitors and a six per cent decrease in visitor spending.

The official figures were published today by the Office for National Statistics.

Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said:

“The growth in tourism during the first half of 2013 shows a resurgence in both domestic and international markets

“Growth in international tourists has mainly been due to a rise in visitors from emerging markets, with an increase in visitor numbers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

“New air routes such as the re-introduction of direct air links from Canada, and Easyjet, starting new routes from Europe to Scotland, will open up our country to more visitors.

"Virgin’s new routes into Scotland from Heathrow have connected Scotland to more than 30 global destinations and already we are seeing tour operators launching new tourist packages to Scotland as a result.

“Staycations are retaining their popularity, with the number of people choosing to holiday close to home on the rise.

“Despite this resurgence last year was a challenging time for the tourism economy, and this is still impacting on visitor figures and spend.

“We will continue to work with VisitScotland and our enterprise agencies to build on this growth during the rest of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and as we enter into 2014 - a year that is set to put Scotland on the global stage. During 2014 we will Welcome the World to our second year of Homecoming and play host to two of the biggest sporting events in the world – the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.”

Notes to editors

The Overseas tourism statistics are available at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases.html?definition=tcm%3A77-21825

Due to the relatively small sample size, figures showing percentage changes over a year are more statistically robust than comparisons between individual quarters/six month periods.