Rise in European visitors to Scotland welcomed

The number of people from Europe visiting Scotland rose 22% in the year to the end of September, according to the latest figures.

Over that period spending by European visitors in Scotland also increased, rising by 7%, from £1.08 billion to £1.15 billion.

Culture and tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop said overseas visitors are a “huge asset”.

She also said the Scottish Government will do all it can to ensure that European visitors can continue to travel to Scotland freely despite the challenges posed by Brexit.

There were 2.26 million visitors from Europe in the year to the end of September 2018.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a 14.3% increase in overseas overnight visits to Scotland, which rose from 3.1 to 3.5 million over that period.

There was a 3.3% increase in overseas tourism expenditure in Scotland, which rose from £2.18 to £2.25 billion.

Ms Hyslop, said: “I am pleased that Scotland’s tourism industry continues to perform strongly, despite the challenges posed by Brexit.”

She added: “Our tourism industry is of vital importance to the Scottish economy.

“As visitors continue to come to Scotland, spending more time in the country and travelling to more destinations, this is a welcome boost for tourism businesses across all of Scotland.

“European and international visitors are a huge asset to our tourism sector, economy and wider wellbeing.

“As set out in our recent discussion paper, all the scenarios point to Brexit – and the end of free movement of people – having a damaging effect on the recruitment and retention of EU staff in the tourism sector.

“We will do all we can to ensure European visitors can continue to travel to Scotland freely and provide the certainty that people and businesses want.”

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