Tourist spending in Scotland in the first three months of this year was 70% higher than pre-Covid levels, "encouraging" figures have shown.

Overseas visitors to Scotland spent a total of £359 million during the first quarter of 2023, with this up from £210 million in the same period of 2019.

Provisional data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed the number of overnight visits made by people from outside the UK had also increased, rising from 443,000 in January to March 2019, to 572,000 in the first three months of 2023 - an increase of 29%.

However, the number of overnight visits in both England and Wales was still below 2019 levels, the figures showed.

In England, there were 6,956,000 overnight visits in the first three months of this year, down from 7,489,000 in the same period in 2019.

Read More: Inflation fall brings hope for Scots homeowners and shoppers

Meanwhile, there were 151,000 overnight visitor stays in Wales in January to March, compared to 156,000 in the same period in 2019.

The majority of visitors to Scotland in the first three months of this year were from Europe, with 407,000 spending at least one night here.

There were also 70,000 visitors from the US and 94,000 from other nations, the data showed.

Tourism minister Richard Lochhead said: "These encouraging statistics show that tourist numbers and spending in Scotland has recovered faster than the rest of the UK - and overseas visitors are returning to Scotland in greater numbers following the pandemic."

He added: "Scotland is an increasingly attractive destination for international tourists.

"I am confident that Scotland's unique culture, history and landscapes, plus global events such as the Scottish Open Golf Championship, next month's UCI World Cycling Championships and Edinburgh's world-renowned festivals, will further drive tourist numbers over the summer."