More tourists visiting Scotland now than before pandemic spending over £1.6b

Visitors also spent more than £1.5 billion in Scotland during the three-month period.

More tourists visiting Scotland now than before pandemic spending over £1.6b iStock

More than 1.4m international tourists visited Scotland in a three-month period in 2023, figures show.

Office for National Statistics data published on Wednesday shows tourism has increased by 14% since pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

An estimated 1,438,000 overseas visitors came to Scotland in July to September last year.

Visitors spent a record £1.5b during the same period, estimated to be 18% more than the same quarter of 2019 when adjusted for inflation.

Overseas residents made 10.9m visits to the UK as a whole in the same three-month period last year, the figures show, with £10.1b spent.

UK-wide visits are at their highest since the Covid-19 pandemic, however they have not yet returned to the same levels seen in 2019 – 11.8m visits were made in the third quarter of 2023.

Scottish tourism minister Richard Lochhead said: “These encouraging statistics reinforce the resilience, creativity, commitment and innovation of Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sector – especially in response to what has been an incredibly challenging time.

“Scotland’s unique culture, history and landscapes, plus global events such as the Scottish Open Golf Championship, the UCI World Cycling Championships and Edinburgh’s renowned festivals, draw visitors from across the world.

“Tourist numbers and spending in Scotland has recovered faster than the UK as a whole, and overseas visitors are returning here in greater numbers following the pandemic.

“We recognise that the sector faces challenges such as rising costs and skills shortages due to Brexit, and we will continue to support and work with the tourism and hospitality sector to grow its economic value while delivering the very best for visitors, businesses and communities.”

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