THE Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will offer an unprecedented opportunity for tourism, attracting thousands of new visitors to the city and Scotland, officials have said.

One-fifth (20%) of people who have tickets for the Games have not visited Glasgow, while 54% know little or nothing about the city, according to a study conducted by Glasgow 2014.

However, many plan to stay a few nights in the city, with 46% of those surveyed planning a short break of two to four nights and 28% intending to stay five nights or more.

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One in 10 intend to combine the visit to Glasgow with a longer trip to Scotland to explore other parts of the country.

Up to one million tickets for events ranging from the opening ceremony to athletics and rugby sevens went on sale last year, although 2.3 million requests were made.

The study of almost 10,000 people who will be spectators asked them about their travel, accommodation and visitor plans.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: "The Games offer an unprecedented opportunity for tourism. It is Glasgow and Scotland's chance to shine on the world stage like never before.

"We look forward to helping spectators make the most of their time in Glasgow and further afield, offering them advice and information during their time here. It's great to see so many visitors are also taking the time to explore other parts of the country."

The vast majority of spectators will be attending from outside Glasgow, with 30% of ticket holders using their home as a base from which to attend the Games.

Nine in 10 visitors will research their itinerary before the Games, the study found.

For those planning to combine their trip to the sporting event with visiting other parts of Scotland, Edinburgh is the top attraction, with 40% saying they are considering or intending to visit the city.

Almost one-third (31%) said they would travel to the Highlands and Skye, whilst 25% preferred to stay closer to Glasgow, travelling to Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 chief executive, said: "The Games is the biggest sporting and cultural event ever to come to Scotland and will put the city and the country on the world stage.

"Our survey demonstrates the potential benefits for tourism, not only in Glasgow but across Scotland, with many visitors indicating a desire to extend their stay beyond the Games.

"By working together to ensure we can deliver an outstanding Games experience for everyone to enjoy, we can secure lasting benefits for Glasgow and Scotland."

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chairman of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, added: "Glasgow is renowned worldwide for its friendly welcome and the people of the city will ensure the hundreds of thousands of visitors who arrive for the Games enjoy an unforgettable experience - one that will inspire them to want to return time and again.

"This survey also shows the scale of opportunity that exists for Glasgow's tourism sector and businesses across the city to really make the most of the Games."