Scotland enjoys UK visitor boom

Edinburgh and the Highlands are holiday hotspots

By Matthew Lynas

SCOTLAND’S hospitality sector stands to gain more than £2 billion this year from a growing ‘staycation’ trend, according to a new report.

An estimated 41 million Britons are expected to holiday in the UK this year, with Edinburgh and the Highlands amongst the most popular destinations, the survey by budget hotel chain Travelodge has claimed.
According to the report, Edinburgh has climbed from the fifth to the second most popular staycation destination in the UK with four million domestic tourists expected to visit the city in 2013. These tourists will boost the local economy in Edinburgh by £1.2bn, according to the survey.
The Highlands was also ranked highly in the list of staycation hotspots; the region is expected to gain £802m of British tourist spending from 2.6m visitors.
Nationwide, the UK tourism industry is expected to receive a £12bn boost from staycations.
Chris Wayne-Wills, chair of the Edinburgh Hotels Association, said the growth in staycations could be attributed to a number of factors.
“There’s so much to do and so much culture,” he told SLTN.
“There’s something for everyone.”
He added that the East Coast Mainline “makes a weekend break so easy” for tourists coming from London and the south east.
Rohaise Rose-Bristow, director at The Torridon hotel in Wester Ross, said domestic tourism is “definitely up this year” in the Highlands, claiming there are a number of reasons UK tourists are choosing the region for staycations this year.
“I think the quality in the Highlands is high, there’s good food, and you don’t have the hassle of flying,” she told SLTN.
The Travelodge survey found that 65% of British adults are expected to holiday in the UK this year, an increase on the 41% who opted for a UK holiday in 2012 and up from 35% in 2011.
William Macleod, executive director for Scotland at the British Hospitality Association, said there has “undoubtedly” been a trend towards the staycation in Scotland.
Macleod described domestic tourism as “vitally important” to the Scottish hospitality industry, making up “three quarters of leisure demand”.
“I think the attraction of staycations will continue,” he told SLTN.
“There’s no doubt the events coming along with Homecoming and particularly the Commonwealth Games will be major.”
Grant Hearn, Travelodge chief executive, said the figures are a “welcome sign” and that the growth may signal the start of an “Olympic legacy”.
“However we cannot sit on our laurels, as one of Britain’s biggest business sectors, the opportunity to grow is still great,” said Hearn, who claimed the hospitality sector needs to be treated as a “serious business sector” by the government.