Three in five Scots planning to book a holiday this year are set to go overseas, poll finds

Three out of five Scots planning to book a holiday this year are set to go overseas, new research has revealed.

Spain, the United States, France, Greece, Italy and Turkey are among the most popular destinations outwith the UK, according to the opinion poll.

However, the staycation boom of the past two years is set to continue, with more than half of those planning a trip saying they are likely to holiday in Scotland.

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The Highlands are also the most popular destination of choice anywhere for people in their 40s and 50s, the findings suggest.

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    Around 1,000 people were surveyed mid this month by Scottish market research company 56 Degree Insight.

    More than a quarter of those planning a holiday are plotting a trip over Easter, while 40 per cent suggested May or June, and 45 per cent mentioned July or August as their preferred choice.

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    Some 53 per cent of Scots planning holidays said they intended to take one in their own country, while 44 per cent are heading for England for a break, with London second only to the Highlands as the most popular destination in the UK.

    Jim Eccleston, managing partner at 56 Degree Insight, said: “These results provide some cautious grounds for optimism for Scotland's tourism industry as it prepares for what remains another uncertain year.

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    Arisaig Marina in the West Highlands. Picture: Sail Scotland/Airborne Lens

    "It's encouraging that holidays are back on the agenda for many Scots, with three in five actively considering where to take them this year. However, this still represents a dampening on pre-pandemic volumes when closer to four in five would be hoping to take a holiday.

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    “For the outbound industry, there’s also some cause for some optimism, with international destinations back on the agenda for many again.”

    Chris Greenwood, senior tourism insight manager at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland has always been a popular holiday destination for Scots even before the pandemic. However, the last two years have sparked renewed interest with many people discovering the joy of a holiday at home.

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    “In 2021, more than 60 per cent of domestic trips in Scotland were taken by Scots residents and it is fantastic to see this interest continue in 2022, despite the relaxation of international restrictions. Research is showing that visitors are exploring beyond the traditional Highland hotspots into other areas such as Dundee, Angus and the south of Scotland."

    Passnger numbers heading through Edinburgh Airport are expected to soar over the next few months.
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    Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, which represents more than 250 different businesses and organisations, said: “The results of the research will offer a significant degree of optimism for Scotland’s tourism businesses.

    "It has been an unimaginably difficult two years for our industry and this is starting to feel like the level of normality that we’ve all been so desperate to regain.

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    “It’s heartening to see that after two years of living with different levels of restrictions around international travel, Scotland remains the preferred choice for more than half of those surveyed who indicated that they would be taking a holiday this year.

    "The UK domestic market accounts for around 70 per cent of tourism in Scotland and our industry will always be dependent on this spend.

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    Luskentyre Sands, on the Isle of Harris. Picture: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

    “However, the return of the international market will be the game changer this year, particularly for the sectors which are so reliant on international visitors and have suffered the worst.”