2014 was the year that saw a considerable increase in the numbers of tourists that visited Scotland. Crowds of the visitors came from overseas and it had much to do with Scotland hosting both the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, two high profile, international sporting events.
Scotland welcomed the news, especially since domestic tourism numbers have been on a steady downward slope as less and less UK residents made their way north. This resulted in an 8 percent drop in visitors from Great Britain in the year up to September of 2014 and a 3 percent drop in regards to how much they've spent.
Overseas tourists however, arrived in Scotland in larger numbers. If in 2013 there were 2.4 million of them, 2014 saw an increase, up to 2.7 million. 538 thousand U.S and Canadian citizens crossed the Atlantic in 2014, compared to only 408 thousand a year before, making for a spectacular 32 percent increase. All of these figures were compiled by the end of September of each year.
More tourists translated into more revenue – 6 percent more to be exact. From 2012 to 2013, tourists spent an overall of 4.3 billion pounds in Scotland while in the following year (2013 to 2014) they spent 4.6 billion.
Mark McDonald, Member of the Scottish Parliament, declared himself pleased with the organization of the Commonwealth Games and acknowledged their effect on the improved figures, which he very much welcomed. He went on to say that, although his country already offers a great experience for its visitors, there is always room for improvement.
Mark McDonald underlined the importance of support in order to boost the economy even further and increase the number of jobs. As this MSP sees it, Westminster may play an important role in offering such support for the Scottish tourism sector by allowing Scotland to set their own air passenger duty rates.
Fergus Ewing, Scottish tourism minister, stated that such high profile sporting events as the Common Wealth Games and the Ryder Cup, due to being international in nature, acted as great catalysts for the tourism sector and so, introduced Scotland to many people, who otherwise wouldn't have come.
An impact study that targeted the Twentieth Commonwealth Games came out with some impressive figures regarding just how much tourists, both local and from overseas, have spent. Those that visited the event overnight left 216 million pounds while those that came during the day have spent 66 million pounds.
Scottish officials hope that the increase in tourist numbers will become an ongoing trend in future years and that those who visited in 2014 will be back next year also.