Festive season boosts Scotland's tourism sector

Festive season boosts Scotland's tourism sector

Scotland’s accommodation businesses are celebrating a bumper festive season after over a quarter reported an increase in bookings.

Research commissioned by VisitScotland found 26% of businesses have enjoyed a jump in the number of bookings, compared to the Christmas and New Year period last year.

The findings follow the announcement that hotels in Glasgow are heading for a Hogmanay sell out.

A recent survey of seven major city centre hotels, conducted by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, revealed that they expected capacity to reach 99% on New Year’s Eve.

On average, visitors to Scotland from October to December stay more than 13 million nights and spend £955m.

The increase in booking numbers comes off the back of the success of festive attractions, including the Virgin Money Street of Light at Edinburgh’s Christmas festival, which has seen visitors from across the globe snap up over 175,000 tickets for the dazzling event on the capital’s Royal Mile.

Malcom Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “At a time of year traditionally considered low season, we continue to see an increasing numbers of visitors enjoying the array of fantastic festive attractions on offer across Scotland during the winter.

“These encouraging findings are a really positive indication of a strong festive period for the Scottish accommodation sector, and Scottish Tourism in general

“This festive success leaves us perfectly placed as we prepare to showcase Scotland’s traditional and contemporary icons and our cutting-edge design to the world in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.”

The results of VisitScotland research are taken from the latest Scottish Accommodation Occupancy Survey (SAOS), commissioned by VisitScotland and conducted by TNS. The SAOS is used by VisitScotland to help monitor occupancy in Scotland’s tourist accommodation sectors.