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Scotland tourism recovers fastest in UK; AU now second-biggest spender

Scotland leads the UK's tourism recovery with double-digit international visitation growth – up 14 per cent for Q3 2023 against the same period in 2019 and six per cent up on 2022 as Aussie visitor spending hits an all-time high in the UK.

Scotland leads the UK’s tourism recovery with double-digit international visitation growth – up 14 per cent for Q3 2023 against the same period in 2019 and six per cent up on 2022 as Aussie visitor spending hits an all-time high in the UK.

More than 1.4 million international travellers visited Scotland between July – September 2023 amid strong travel demand and increased air connectivity, according to the latest VisitScotland International Passenger Survey.

Emirates, Qatar Airways and the newly launched Turkish Airlines are some carriers providing extra uplift from Australasia to the UK with new routes and additional services.

Tourism spend is up

VisitScotland dunfermline high street credit Welcome to Fife Luigi Di Pasquale
Dunfermline High Street. Image: Welcome to Fife/Luigi Di Pasquale

Before the pandemic, international tourist spend contributed around £6 billion (approximately AUD$11.65 billion) to Scottish GDP.

Australian visitors in the UK spent an all-time high of £668 million (approximately AUD$1.3 billion) in Q3 2023, up 61 per cent on the same period in 2019 and 43 per cent on 2022, making Australia the nation’s second-most valuable source market behind the US.

VisitScotland slains castle credit VisitAberdeenshire
Slains Castle. Image: VisitAberdeenshire

During this period, 455,000 Aussies visited the UK, up eight per cent on Q3 2019 and 41 per cent on 2022 figures.

VisitBritain’s newly published tourism forecast for 2024 predicts overall international visitor spend will hit a record £34.1 billion (AUD$66 billion), up seven per cent on predicted 2023 expenditure and 20 per cent on 2019 spend. 

Responsible travel initiative

VisitScotland salisbury crags credit VisitScotland KennyLam
Salisbury Crags. Image: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Scotland is also the first in Europe to launch a Meaningful Travel Map in 2024 with global non-profit Tourism Cares as part of its ambition to be a responsible tourism destination.

The tool helps travel trade and travellers find vetted sustainable offerings and organisations that are making a positive social and environmental impact.

VisitScotland ben nevis credit VisitScotland PaulTomkins
Highland Cattle at Ben Nevis. Image: VisitScotland/PaulTomkins

For more info, head to visitscotland.com