How Well is the Scottish Tourism Industry Performing in 2023?

Edinburgh Castle

DESPITE its size, Scotland has been incredibly influential throughout history, and it continues to be so on the world stage. While France, Italy and Spain are often considered the world’s big tourist hotspots, Scotland attracts its fair share of visitors as well.

The tourism industry is in a state of constant flux. No two years are the same for the sector, and unexpected patterns and trends can emerge from nowhere, with both beneficial and harmful consequences for businesses. Let’s take a look at what brings visitors to Scotland and then discuss how well the Scottish tourism industry is performing in 2023.

The Scenery

From the remote beauty of the highlands to the tranquil peace of the lowlands, Scotland’s scenery is famous all over the world. The country is regularly ranked as among the planet’s most visually stunning countries, and if you spend any time in Scotland you’ll quickly realise why.

Scotland is perhaps most well-known for its mountains. Known as Munros, these peaks range across the northern half of the country. There are wide mountain ranges and solitary peaks that tower over the local area. The variety of Scotland’s mountain terrain is truly incredible, there’s also something new to see or somewhere new to explore.

However, there is much more to Scotland than just mountains. Believe it or not, the country has over 30,000 freshwater lochs, from the scenic expanse of Loch Lomond to hidden gems like Loch Brora. Scotland also has some incredible forests, you can spend hours exploring Rothiemurchus Forest and Abernethy Forest, where you can try spot elusive pine martens or capercaillies!  

Don’t assume that exploring Scotland’s scenery means getting your hiking boots on and preparing for a physically arduous experience. Look into luxury motorhome hire Scotland and take in the fantastic countryside in style and comfort.

The Culture

As well as incredible countryside, Scotland is also home to some fantastic cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh. These are cultural hotspots and have an incredible number of things to see and do. Whether you’re into art, music or comedy, you’ll be spoiled for choice on your visit to Scotland.

Visit Edinburgh in August to experience the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival and watch some up-and-coming comedians and performers. If music is more your kind of thing, check out a gig at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom venue, or in the newer Hydro stadium.

The History

Scotland is steeped in history, with stories and traditions that stretch back hundreds of years, if not longer. If you’re a history buff, you’ll have the time of your life in Scotland, the country is absolutely packed full of sites of historical significance.

Some of the most popular historical sites in Scotland include the Antonine Wall, constructed by the Romans in 142 AD, Stirling Bridge, the site of a famous battle in 1297, and the Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery right in the heart of this now modern, vibrant city.

Scottish Tourism: Facts and Figures

 As we mentioned above, tourism industry performance can wax and wane and can be affected by a number of internal and external factors. Many businesses in Scotland rely on tourism, so a fall in numbers can have serious consequences.

Thankfully, the Scottish tourism industry is thriving. In the first three months of 2023, tourists spent £359 million in Scotland. This was higher than the figure recorded from the same period in 2019, when spending totalled £210 million.

According to research conducted by the Office for National Statistics, Scotland saw 407,000 tourists from Europe, 70,000 from the US and 94,000 from other countries visit and stay overnight. These numbers have grown when compared to the same period in 2019, despite falling in England and Wales.

In the summer, Scottish tourism was given another boost. The country hosted the Scottish Open Golf Championship and the UCI World Cycling Championship. These two events saw sports fans fly in from all over the world and will have significantly elevated Scotland’s international profile.

The global tourism industry has suffered in recent years, and in many places is still reeling from the aftereffects of highly disruptive global events. However, it would appear that the Scottish tourism sector has bounced back and looks well on its way to making a full recovery.


The Scottish tourism industry has defied expectations and performed extraordinarily well so far in 2023. The start of the year was particularly positive, and sporting events over the summer will have helped attract more visitors to the country. Scotland continues to be one of the world’s best tourist destinations, and it’s easy to understand why.

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