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Tourism is everyone's business - everyone in Scotland is an ambassador.

The tourism sector is of vital importance to the Scottish economy - Latest figures indicate total overnight and day visitor expenditure in Scotland was around £8.9 billion in 2015 - this comprised of expenditure from overnight visitors of £4.9 billion and expenditure by day visitors of £3.9 billion.  In 2015 Scotland attracted over 14.6 million visitors.

Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.

Employment in the tourism-related industries sector (as measured by the Scottish Government’s Tourism Growth Sector) in Scotland was 196,000 in 2014 – accounting for around 7.7% of employment in Scotland.

To further enhance our international profile as a world class events destination and build upon our achievements in successfully delivering  the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014, our recently revised national events strategy reaffirms our commitment to building a strong and dynamic events industry producing a portfolio of events and festivals that deliver sustainable impact and international profile for Scotland. The updated strategy covers everyone involved in planning, securing, supporting and delivering events within Scotland’s diverse portfolio; and crucially it provides a strategic focus for the Scottish Government and its bodies, the Events & Festivals sector and the wider public, private and third sectors to ensure Scotland continues to develop, improve and invest in its strong and dynamic events industry.

In 2015/16 there will be a celebration of Scotland’s vibrant music scene through Celtic Connections, which will see a unique collaboration with Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure Scotland (BEMIS) to enhance the engagement of multi-cultural communities in Scotland’s Winter Festival programme; and T in the Park, delivered by DF Concerts and Events who, for 2015, received funding support compliant with State Aid rules to help ensure the successful transition of this iconic music festival to their new temporary site at Strathallan in Perthshire. Looking further ahead Scotland has also successfully secured the European Sports Championships for 2018, the Solheim Cup for 2019 and the European Football Championships, UEFA Euro 2020.

To sustain and build upon the momentum generated by Homecoming Scotland 2014 and to continue to inspire the people of Scotland and our visitors, a second programme of themed years is underway, which will focus on Food and Drink in 2015, Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016, History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017 and Young People in 2018. The themed years programme is used to shine a spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems through a wide ranging variety of new and existing activity to boost tourism in every corner of Scotland.

The National Strategy: Tourism Scotland 2020 

The industry-led National Tourism Strategy "Tourism Scotland 2020" was launched in June 2012. The strategy was developed and led by the industry under the umbrella of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), supported by the public sector. It is based on an in-depth understanding of market opportunities matched to Scotland’s capabilities. It provides a common agenda for the industry and supporting organisations, focusing on the national long term tourism growth ambition.


VisitScotland is the national tourism organisation for Scotland with a primary role to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. It wants to encourage this growth in a sustainable way that will bring benefit for the long term.

VisitScotland has three core activities: Marketing, Information Provision and Quality Assurance, and it works closely with businesses, public agencies and local authorities to ensure it delivers these activities effectively.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise (SE) provide support to help Scotland's ambitious, growing tourism companies, to develop new ideas and innovate, enabling businesses to grow by focusing on the development of new and improved visitor experiences around Scotland's core strengths, through effective use of market intelligence, business collaboration and investment in new product and services.

SE help by:

  • developing industry leadership through the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) as it delivers the industry strategy.
  • developing industry collaboration through supporting businesses to work together to develop visitor experiences around Scotland’s key tourism markets and assets.
  • working directly with individual businesses - supporting them to exploit their commercial potential particularly in international markets.
  • investing in tourism infrastructure, such as the development of the Hydro Arena in Glasgow and the additional function space at the EICC in Edinburgh.

Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) is tasked with creating sustainable economic growth in every part of the Highlands & Islands.

HIE employ around 300 people spread across 9 area offices and invest around £70m annually helping to grow ambitious companies, sectors and communities. HIE help design and deliver regionally significant investments such as next generation broadband or the new UHI Campus project. HIE partner with businesses, communities and social enterprises to shape and realise their growth ambitions. HIE focus on key sectors and work to create a low carbon economy. HIE address need as well as opportunity, targeting resources towards fragile areas so that they can share the benefits of the region’s progress.

Scottish Tourism Alliance

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) is the Industry Leadership Group for tourism and the leading voice for the tourism sector in Scotland. As an independent trade body comprising over 250 trade associations, businesses, destination groups and other organisations with an interest in tourism, the STA represents a significant proportion of the industry.

The STA works to play a pivotal role in enabling the tourism sector to grow by raising the profile and value of the tourism industry, taking responsibility for the facilitation and coordination of the national strategy: Tourism Scotland 2020 and, by working with decision makers at all levels, facilitating the right conditions for growth and profitability of tourism in Scotland, such as infrastructure development, marketing, digital capabilities and skills. To this end, the STA’s vision is to lead an engaged and united Scottish Tourism Alliance in the delivery of an ambitious shared strategy for growth.