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Record number of overseas tourists visit Scotland in 2023

20 May 2024 • Sarah Medcraf

Tourism bosses have described record international visitor numbers for Scotland in 2023 as a "turning point" for the industry.

Almost four million people from overseas visited the country last year, an increase of 15% on 2019, the last year before the Covid pandemic.

Unprecedented numbers from North America helped break the previous record of 3.7m, which was set in 2018.

Visitors to Scotland in 2023 spent £3.6bn - up 41% on 2019 and 13% on 2022 - although those increases do not account for inflation.

Scotland is the only part of the UK that has seen an increase in comparison to 2019, although the International Passenger Survey, external by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the majority of nations and regions saw growth compared to 2022.

VisitScotland's chief executive Malcolm Roughead said international tourism was "hugely important" to the Scottish economy.

He added: "These figures mark a turning point for tourism in Scotland, showing not only recovery but crucially growth in international visitors with number of visits and spend now above 2019 levels.

“They are further evidence of the strength of Scotland's offering and the clear desire for people across the world to experience this, with record demand from North America."

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