Scotland’s tourism industry has had a real boost as the ‘Year of Food and Drink’ drew to a close and the ‘Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design’ began, according to tourism minister Fergus Ewing.
The industry is on a high with an increase in visitor numbers to Scotland and a successful Year of Food and Drink:
Overseas and domestic tourism visitors to Scotland have both increased by seven per cent in the last year.
Tourism minister Mr Ewing said: “The Scottish tourism industry has finished 2015 on a high. Bolstered by a hugely successful Year of Food and Drink, businesses have continued to build on past successes, increasing the number of visitors from Europe, America and from crucial domestic markets.
“Visitors come for many reasons – and 2015 has shown the Scotland’s world leading food and drink is foremost among them, with hoteliers, restaurants and other operators across Scotland rising to the challenge and giving visitors experiences to remember – from the Scottish Borders to the Shetland Isles.
“The forthcoming Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design offers a further opportunity to showcase what Scotland has to offer – with the official programme of events an excellent starting point from which to explore the huge wealth of trips and experiences linked to this wide-ranging theme.
“I am keen to ensure the benefits of tourism are spread throughout the country, and have undertaken numerous visits, from Nairn in the Highlands to Glentress in the Scottish Borders, to listen to tourism businesses and how their views can help shape policy.
“I am particularly interested in changes to better capitalise on out-of-season visitors and to further develop our marine assets.
“As 2015 draws to a close, I would like to thank the industry for its hard work and achievements over the year and to highlight the huge opportunity that 2016 – the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – will no doubt bring.”
The tourism industry is adapting to an increase in the number of visitors coming in the colder months – increasing from 4.7 million trips between October 2008 and March 2009 to 5.7 million in the same period in 2014-15.
There has also been further success in Scotland as a destination for business tourism, with the £2 million Conference Bid Fund delivering a gross return of up to £200 million.
And there hase been significant investment by public, private and third sectors in tourist attractions, venues, hotels and accommodation.