Scotland’s reputation as a 'must-visit, must-return destination' is growing according to new research by VisitScotland.

The Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 - one of the biggest undertaken by the national tourism organisation - found that 82% of visitors are likely to recommend Scotland to others, compared to 75% when the survey was last conducted in 2015/2016.

It also showed that more than three quarters (80%) of visitors said they are quite or very likely to come back to the country in the next five years. 

Typically conducted every three or four years, this is the first time the Scotland Visitor Survey has been undertaken since the pandemic.

It aims to help understand why visitors take a holiday or short break in Scotland and how they rate their experiences when here.

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From March to October 2023, visitors were surveyed both while in Scotland and when they returned home to help build a complete picture of their journey from start to finish.

As well as looking at the profile of visitors and their experiences, the first wave of results also focused on motivations and inspiration.

Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead said: “It’s very heartening to see such a positive response, particularly given this is the first major survey of its kind undertaken since the pandemic. Repeat visits and word of mouth recommendations are vital to the sector, so it’s great to see that results are now even stronger than pre-pandemic figures, with over 80% of visitors sharing that they are likely to return to Scotland or would recommend a visit to others, and international tourism recovering at a stronger rate than the UK as whole.”

“Scotland’s visitor sector is of huge importance to our economy, and these results showcase the strength, creativity and ingenuity of our tourism providers, who continue to offer a vast choice of unique events, attractions and experiences to visitors from all over the world. Scotland can be proud.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “This valuable research gives us an important benchmark for where Scotland’s tourism offering is, post pandemic, helping inform and drive our activities as an industry going forward. 

“Knowing what our visitors think and what they want is crucial in ensuring Scotland is kept front of mind in a competitive marketplace.

“The strong support demonstrated in the survey is testament to the tireless work and dedication of those within our tourism and events industry, who on a daily basis help create unforgettable and unmissable holiday experiences.

“It is clear the voices of our visitors have a vital role to play in promoting Scotland as a must-visit, must-return destination. This in turn helps grow the economy, creating jobs, sustaining communities and attracting further investment in the future.”

To view the Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 visit here