Scotland’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength – spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion. The tourism industry accounts for 8.5 per cent – 207,000 people – creating jobs, supporting the local economy and building on our strong international reputation.
2017 was a record-breaking year for our tourism industry, with the number of overseas visitors to Scotland increasing by almost 17 per cent to 3.2 million – the highest level on record. Spending by overseas visitors was up to a record level too – up 23 per cent to £2.3 billion.
In recent years Scotland has had significant success in securing major events, including the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup in 2014, and last year the 124th Open Championships at Carnoustie and the first-ever European Championships.
Looking forward, Scotland will also host the Solheim Cup this year, the UEFA European Championships in 2020 and the first ever UCI all-discipline World Championships in 2023.
We have introduced a £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help ensure the services and facilities tourists and communities need are provided. World-class tourist sites in Skye and Orkney are already benefitting from the funding.
We will also develop an Islands passport scheme as to encourage people to visit more of Scotland’s 80 inhabited islands.