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.

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