Scotland’s tourism sector saw an increase in tourist spending in the first quarter of the year, surpassing pre-Covid levels, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
During the first three months of 2023, spending by overseas visitors in Scotland increased by a significant 70% compared to the same period four years ago. The total amount spent by tourists during this time reached £359 million, a substantial increase from the £210 million spent in 2019.
The ONS data also report a 29% rise in the number of overnight visits made by international travellers during January to March 2023, reaching a total of 572,000 visits. In contrast, both England and Wales experienced overnight visits that remained below the levels recorded in 2019.
The majority of visitors to Scotland in the first quarter of 2023 were from Europe, with 407,000 individuals spending at least one night in the country. Additionally, there were 70,000 visitors from the US and 94,000 from other nations.
Scotland’s tourism minister, Richard Lochhead, as well as expressing his confidence in Scotland’s increasing ability to attract international tourists, also pointed out that upcoming global events like the Scottish Open Golf Championship and the UCI World Cycling Championships, as well as Edinburgh’s festivals, are expected to further boost tourist numbers over the summer season.