Overseas tourism to Scotland : patterns, problems and prospects

Heeley, J and McVey, M (1985) Overseas tourism to Scotland : patterns, problems and prospects. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 10 (3). pp. 57-83. ISSN 0306-7866

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The Tourism (Overseas Promotion) (Scotland) Bill became law on 14 May 1984, and gave overseas marketing powers to Scotland's statutory national tourist agency, the Scottish Tourist Board (STB). The Scottish Office minister responsible for tourism, Lord Gray of Contin sees the Act as "providing a first-rate promotional service to Scotland's tourist industry". Board chairman Alan Devereux has suggested that the foundation for a great upsurge in international tourism to Scotland has been laid, arguing that, "We should aim to double the number of overseas visitors to Scotland over the next five years to 2.5 million, which would earn an additional £250 million in hard currency and generate more than 25,000 new jobs". This article examines overseas tourism to Scotland, reviewing trends and the factors shaping this market and highlighting impediments and constraints which must be overcome before such a significant expansion can occur. Our conclusion is that this country does not yet have a "first-rate promotional service" and that a doubling of overseas traffic to Scotland by 1989/90 is unlikely to occur.