Scotland as a destination of first choice.

A sightseeing bus Image courtesy of Scotland is Now

  • Our national tourism organisation VisitScotland has a budget of more than £45 million a year
  • Promoting the South of Scotland as a visitor destination

Tourism makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s economy and international image. It is a significant employer in both rural and urban areas, making it important for our Inclusive Growth agenda.

We are delivering support for the four priorities set out in the industry-led Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) “Tourism Scotland 2020” strategy, and sponsor Scotland’s national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, with a budget of more than £45 million a year.


The Scottish Government was the principal funder of the highly successful Glasgow 2018 European Championships. We will now play host to the European Indoor Athletic Championships and the European Short Course Swimming Championships. The Scottish Government’s investment has also enabled Scotland to host the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, the world’s biggest event in women’s golf.

Rural Tourism

Through our mandatory Rural Rates Relief scheme and our small Business Bonus Scheme, we have helped a number of small rural hotels to cope with increasing business costs. We stablished the £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to provide investment in infrastructure to support sustainable growth in rural tourism across Scotland.

We are working with partners to promote the South of Scotland as a visitor destination. We also supported destination development projects and organisations with in excess of £1m funding through Scottish Enterprise’s destination fund in 2018-19. This is alongside more than £3 million destination development support for Scotland’s biggest cities. We are providing £15m capital investment through the Inverness and Region City Deal to enable Inverness Castle to be turned into a visitor attraction of national importance by 2021 for the economic benefit of the city and the wider Highlands.

Northern Innovation Hub

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will also use the Northern Innovation Hub (£11.5m) part of the Inverness and Region city deal to help develop the Highlands for adventure tourism, and encourage more tourism businesses to engage in international trade. Digital city deal money (with HIE support) will be used for business development, skills and wi-fi open access.

Along with our visitor economy agencies, we have continued to support Digital Tourism Scotland – a £1.2 million, 3 year public and private sector partnership project running until 2019 across Scotland, which will improve the digital skills and capabilities of tourism businesses.

Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, Dumfries

Driven by forward by a group of volunteer trustees, The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was established in 2009 as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Moat Brae will become Scotland’s first Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, as well as a major international visitor attraction, that celebrates the literary, cultural and historical connections that the house and garden at Moat Brae have with J M Barrie and his world famous character Peter Pan. The Centre will open its doors in spring 2019 and provide (i) specialist interpretation to inspire visitors (estimated 45,000 per year) with the history and heritage of Moat Brae; (ii) interactive rooms to fuel the imagination, help visitors develop their creative potential and host a programme of public activities related to children’s literature and storytelling; (iii) a fully accessible activity trail, inspired by a Neverland Discovery Garden that connects plants and people; (iv) an education suite for large school or literature groups in a dedicated contemporary learning extension; (v) a café and shop for children’s books, toys and merchandise; and (vi) offices for Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust staff and volunteers.

The £8m project has been jointly funded by Scottish Enterprise, Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish Government as well as a number of private Trusts, Foundations and individuals.

The Dumfries & Galloway economy is characterised by a low GVA, a declining and ageing population, a low wage economy, a high rate of unemployment and a high dependency on the public sector for employment. The town of Dumfries is the largest town in the region with a population of 30,000 – and has 3 datazones which are amongst the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland. This project reflects multi-agency working, bringing together regeneration and economic activity as well as creating 32.5 new FTEs, the project seeks to help create a vibrant and creative capital town in Dumfries & Galloway. This exciting and innovative project has the potential to make a very real difference to the economic regeneration of south-west Scotland.

Key resources:

Scottish Government: Tourism in Scotland: the economic contribution of the sector

The Scottish Tourism Alliance tourism strategy

The Scottish Tourism Alliance 2018 Annual report, March 2018