Publised date : 25 Jul 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that visits and spending by overseas tourists in Scotland have risen to the highest ever recorded level.

The figures, released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), showed the number of overseas tourists visiting Scotland rose by 16.9% to 3.2 million, while expenditure increased by 23% to £2.3 billion. These increases were significantly higher than the UK as a whole.

Across Tayside, meanwhile, the number of visitors rose from 219,000 in 2016 to 252,000 in 2017 – an increase of 15%. Spending, meanwhile, increased from £69 million in 2016 to £116 million in 2017 – an incredible rise of 68%. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These are a magnificent set of figures that clearly show Scotland’s appeal to people around the world. By far outstripping the growth of other parts of the UK, Scotland is clearly demonstrating its potential on the global stage.

“The Scottish Government recognises that tourism is one of our most important industries, employing 207,000 people, creating jobs, supporting the local economy and building on our strong international reputation. The figures released today show that our bold, forward-thinking strategy of promoting Scotland is paying rich dividends.

“I am particularly pleased by the news that Tayside has enjoyed a 68% increase in tourist spending since 2016. This is a remarkable statistic, and one that will be welcomed by people across the region. 

“Today’s figures are a rebuke to the Tories, who would rather indulge in grievance politics than get behind our successful efforts to increase Scotland’s profile to the wider world. Instead of playing political games, I look forward to the Tories welcoming these figures and supporting the Scottish Government’s tourism strategy going forward.”

The release of today’s ONS figures comes on the same day that the Tories have criticised the Scottish Government for including the Queensferry Crossing – a landmark infrastructure project which holds multiple world records - and the Baby Box in a video aimed at attracting visitors to Scotland. 

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