Travel Trends 2017 revealed staggering statistics in August 2018 that showed that the percentage of tourists visiting Scotland increased by 16.9% to 3.2 million in number and their spending went up by a factor of 23% to £2.3 billion.

The Office of National Statistics stated that tourism had hit record high volumes and was booming more than ever before. The rise in tourism can be majorly attributed to the large number of European tourists flocking in to see the “bonny” land of Scotland and constituted 1.9 million visitors, up by seventeen percent from 2016, with their spending rising by 36% to £1.1 billion.

The entire population of Scotland is 5.3 million people, out of which there are two and a half tourists for every resident. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

You see, Scotland has outperformed the rest of the United Kingdom in reeling in fascinated tourists for the sixth year in a row.

Outside London, Edinburgh has the highest number of foreign visitors flying in who are taking advantage of companies such as Private Driver Scotland. However, it is the whole nation that is witnessing a rebirth in the tourism realm and benefiting from increased revenue.

So, what is the reason behind the Scottish tourism industry’s boom?

Let’s take a look!

The Outlander Effect

How many of you have seen this wicked television series? It has captured the attention of millions of people around the globe and motivated them to trot into the Scottish landscape themselves to experience what the land has to offer.

What is it about, you ask? My friend, we will not share spoilers with you as it is worth a watch! However, just to give you an idea, it is based in the 1940s ad is about a nurse who travels back in time to the Jacobite rebellions in the Highlands. Fancy a visit?

There are plenty of tour operators who are more than happy to show you where your favourite scene was shot. You can explore the beautiful, wondrous landscapes and see the Outlander story come to life right in front of you.

Would you believe that the Glenfinnan Monument to the fallen Jacobite clansmen brought in almost four hundred thousand visitors last year alone? It was reported that this figure increased by fifty-eight percent from last year.

Amazing! Let’s not forget the Glenfinnan Viaduct- made famous as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movie series. Scotland has witnessed a net rise in film tourism due to such opportunities.

The Pretty Cities

Large, thriving cities always bring in interested foreign visitors and it is no surprise that London is at the top of the list of the most popular tourist destinations within the United Kingdom. However, the 11th and 12th places belong to Edinburgh with its National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle attracting more than two million tourists in the year 2017

New Air Routes


With new airlines opening up direct flights to Scottish cities, the number of tourists has risen. Time is a precious and scarce commodity in the world, especially in the United Kingdom where a fast, paced life keeps one busy throughout the year. Being able to save time with direct flights has attracted a higher number of visitors to the Scottish countryside.

Fall in Sterling

With the announcement of Brexit, the sterling pound depreciated in the international exchange rate markets. That peaked the interest and capability of people from countries such as India, China, the Gulf States and the United States to be able to come in and visit the United Kingdom, especially Scotland.

Successful Global Marketing Campaigns

Tourism is a sensitive industry that can be affected by external, global triggers that are out of the control of the local ruling authorities. For instance, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium had a strong, negative impact on overall European touristic numbers last year.

However, the Scottish government was adamant that when the numbers pick up, Scotland would be at the top of the list. VisitScotland ran aggressive, effective marketing campaigns and focused on the key messages of communicating Scotland’s incredible history, archaeology and heritage.

The local culture and generous hospitality was also promoted. Apart from golf and whiskey, two iconic Scottish trademarks, shopping and adventure was also promoted. For instance, shopping in Glasgow is pretty unbelievable! You won’t believe the deals you can get if you go to the right places! If you visit Scotland, don’t forget to allocate a couple of days just for shopping.

Planning a visit to Scotland? Here are the top 3 you must not miss!


Since the fifteenth century, Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland and is full of amazing activities for tourists to partake in. Located high on top of a series of dormant volcanoes overlooking the ocean, as a tourist, you will feel like you have travelled back in time to Old Scotland. To experience the very best of its charm, stroll down its quaint cobblestone streets, check out the Georgian architecture in the New Town and enjoy a bit of shopping.  


A beautiful blend of modern infused with a bit of old, Dundee is an emerald jewel with its lush, green countryside and gorgeous history. Historic castles are nestled right next to contemporary museums and art galleries. Have a delicious meal on its breathtaking waterfront and soak in all its diverse glory.


Want to visit the beautiful Scottish coastal areas? Just rent a car or take a bus from Glasgow to Ayr – only 37 miles away and a beautiful seaside resort town. Full of modern hotels with complete amenities, restaurants and gorgeous views, you’ll feel it’s your home away from home. Just walk around town, take a dip in the sea (if weather permits!) and take your children to the playground. Need a little extra incentive? There is plenty of parking!

It is quite amazing how far the Scottish industry has come and is expected to flourish even further. We suggest that you visit this hidden gem till its pristine beauty and charm is still maintained. The government has taken measures to protect all its heritage sites and landscapes as well. With direct new air routes, we are sure your city or town will be connected!