Scotland’s tourism industry has been boosted by increased visits and spending over a year, according to new figures.
International and British overnight visits to Scotland increased by nine per cent between 2010 and last year. Spending grew at the same time by 14per cent, the Scottish Government said.
Both increases are largely because of overnight stays by people from across the UK.
British visits increased by 10 per cent while spending grew by 20 per cent, a survey by UK tourist boards suggests.
Separate official figures for overseas visits show a 1 per cent drop over the year but a two per cent increase in spending. The drop in visitors was offset by a 15 per cent increase from North America.
The Scottish Government said overall spending was worth more than £4.5 billion last year.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing, in North America for Scotland Week celebrations, said the figures show resilience in the industry.
He added: “The nine per cent increase in visitors to Scotland shows growth in one of our key sectors and is good news for Scotland’s wider economy, especially in the current global economic climate.
“These figures are a reflection of the hard work being done by Scotland’s tourism industry and of the innovative marketing campaigns VisitScotland has created, both at home and overseas.”
He continued: “The 15per cent increase in visitors from North America shows Scotland’s appeal continues to expand after a difficult time. This week I am touring North America as part of Scotland Week, promoting Scotland as a tourist destination to people all over the USA and Canada, and I have experienced first-hand the tremendous enthusiasm for visiting Scotland.”
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “For every £1 we invest more than £20 comes back into the Scottish economy. No other industry delivers such a return in such a short time-frame.”
The overall figures take in national statistics on overseas travel and tourism, and a Great Britain Tourism Survey for 2011.