Increased number of visitors to Scotland

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The number of visitors to Scotland has risen by four per cent in the year to June 2012 compared to the previous twelve month period.

Statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics show there was a seven per cent increase in the number of overseas visitors to Scotland and the Great Britain Tourism Survey points towards an increase in domestic visitors to Scotland of three per cent.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing has welcomed the figures which also show that people are spending more money when they are in Scotland. International spend has gone up by 18 per cent and domestic spend by 13 per cent. When the two figures are combined, overall spend is up by 14 per cent in the year to June 2012 compared to the previous twelve month period.

Mr Ewing said:

“Tourism is one of Scotland’s key industries and as these figures show – it continues to make a major contribution to Scotland’s economy with more people visiting and spending more in our accommodation visitor attractions and restaurants.

“We want Scotland to be a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable experience, delivered by a skilled and passionate workforce and the Scottish Government is working with VisitScotland and the industry to achieve this.

“We have already seen a world first this year, with Disney Pixar collaborating with VisitScotland around the film Brave. This is raising the profile of our nation across the globe and encouraging even more people to see the inspiration behind the smash-hit film for themselves.

“The Conference Bid Fund is also having a positive impact. Twelve conferences have been secured so far which VisitScotland predict will have an economic impact of £37 million with a spend of £317,000.

“We have much to look forward to. Plans are underway for 2013, which has been designated as our Year of Natural Scotland, to celebrate our reputation as a place of outstanding natural beauty.

“This will be followed by Homecoming Scotland 2014 which will put Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative nation. It will make the most of the opportunities offered by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup with a year-long, co-ordinated programme of events to welcome visitors around the world in a celebration of Scotland’s greatest assets.”

Chairman of VisitScotland, Mike Cantlay, called the figures “enouraging” during what he said was a difficult economic climate, and added:

“We appreciate that this has been a tough summer for tourism but, looking ahead, there is much to be optimistic about. We have an opportunity to sell Scotland to the world like never before so let’s work together and seize it with both hands. When the going gets tough, we get tougher and sell harder. There is never any room for complacency and our marketing teams are working with the tourism industry and businesses all over the country to make the most of every opportunity.”