Scotland has experienced a “flurry” of independent hotel sales in 2023, signalling the nation’s “growing appeal” to domestic and overseas investors, an expert has declared.

Gary Witham, hospitality director for Scotland at property agent Christie & Co, added that the uptick in sales had been underpinned by a “robust post-pandemic recovery, driven principally by leisure market demand”.

He highlighted the finding in Christie & Co’s latest hotel market report that Scotland had become an increasingly popular tourism destination.

This UK hotel market snapshot report flagged significant rises in average daily rates (ADRs) for hotel rooms in Edinburgh and Glasgow since the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

Comparing the first half of this year with the opening six months of 2019, Mr Witham noted ADRs in Glasgow and Edinburgh were up by 20% and 39% respectively.

He added that leisure-led hotels had performed well over the last 12 months.

The snapshot report flagged sharp rises in passenger numbers at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, comparing the first half of this year with the opening six months of 2022.

It said: “Despite remaining 26.3% below 2019 levels, the number of passengers recorded at Glasgow Airport in 2022 showed marked signs of recovery. As of June 2023, YTD (year to date) figures sat at 21.2% above those over the same period in 2022.”

The report added: “Edinburgh Airport is the busiest airport in Scotland. In 2022, passenger numbers showed signs of recovery, despite remaining 23.7% lower than in 2019. As of June 2023, the YTD passenger numbers were 39.6% higher than the same period in 2022.”

Mr Witham also flagged a boost to visitor numbers from the “now internationally known” North Coast 500 route.

He noted that, since the second quarter, “several high-quality, privately owned hotels have sold to a range of private and corporate investors, demonstrating the resilience and buoyancy of the independent Scottish hotel market”.

Mr Witham added that transactions in which Christie & Co’s Scottish team had been involved had included the sale of Seamill Hydro Hotel in Ayrshire to RAD Group and the acquisition of Dalhousie Castle Hotel in Edinburgh by private US investors.