The Sectoral Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on the Tourism Economy : a Regional Analysis Focused on Scotland

Allan, Grant and Connolly, Kevin and Figus, Gioele and Maurya, Aditya and Williamson, Jack (2023) The Sectoral Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on the Tourism Economy : a Regional Analysis Focused on Scotland. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. (

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This report summarises the project "The sectoral economic impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism economy: a regional analysis focused on Scotland", funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project was undertaken by a research team comprising of researchers from the Fraser of Allander Institute and Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde. The project adopted an economic modelling approach which used a (pre-pandemic) baseline of spending by different categories of tourists in Scotland and measures of changes in tourism demand in Scotland in 2021 and 2022. These were then used as inputs to an economic model which was used to estimate the consequences of COVID-19 for the tourism industry, as well as the propagation of impacts across the wider Scottish economy. Results were presented to key stakeholder groups during the duration of the project and sought to contribute the evidence base for decisions around policy choices during COVID-19 and in the recovery of the tourism sector post-COVID-19. Main findings from the project are discussed in an academic paper and six blog posts summarised at the end of this report. In this final report we summarise the projects activities, including: The construction of a baseline of pre-pandemic tourism spending identifying categories of tourism spending, months of the year and at a sub-national level for Scotland; The development of a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of Scotland which we were able to use to explore the impacts of COVID-related changes in tourism activities; Our simulation approach to modelling the impacts of COVID-19; Results from our analysis across different scenarios for 2021 and 2022. Through the project we have identified some areas where it could be possible to significantly improve our understanding of the economic contribution of tourism in Scotland in particular and to regional economies in general. We summarise these in this report under two headings: first, our reflections on the value of economic modelling for tourism analysis and, second, some areas where the data that is used to understand the tourism industry and its wider impacts on the economy could be improved.

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