The Big Picture - March 2012

In this issue: a rise in trips to Scotland from England, and a higher average day trip spend in Scotland than the UK average.

Figures from the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) for the year to November 2011 show that trips by British residents to Scotland rose by almost nine per cent over the same period in 2010, with spend rising by 17 per cent to £2.7 billion. 

With the full 2010 spend figure already exceeded by November, it looks as though 2011 is shaping up to have been an exceedingly good year in terms of spend from domestic visitors.

The key drivers of this growth are holiday trips and visiting friends and relatives (VFR), suggesting that staycations continued to impact the market. 

The year to November also saw a significant recovery in the number of trips taken by English residents to Scotland. Trips by Scottish residents also continued to increase, with trips of one to three nights proving particularly popular, however the increase was not at the levels seen in 2010.

Whilst full 2011 figures for international visits to Scotland are not yet available, trips by overseas visitors were down in the first three quarters of the year compared to 2010. It is therefore likely that the full year figures for 2011 will reflect this decline.

Newly-published results from the Great Britain Day Visitor Survey show that in 2011, 134 million day trips were taken in Scotland, generating some £6.2 billion spend. 

The average spend on a day trip in Scotland was £46, significantly higher than the UK average of £35. This is perhaps a reflection of the fact that 51 per cent of Scots day trippers spend money on eating out, compared with 48 per cent of UK day trip visitors.

The majority of day trips taken in Scotland were for the purposes of visiting friends and family (33 million), however going out for a meal (14 million) and outdoor activities (12 million) were also popular.

Surprisingly, visiting attractions came some way down the list at 6 million trips – perhaps a reflection of continuing constraint on household budgets.

Compiled from information provided by the VisitScotland Tourism Insights Team