More people are working in Scotland’s tourism sector since the introduction of the National Tourism Strategy in 2012, VisitScotland has announced.
As well as an increase in tourism employment, the initiative, which aims to grow visitor spend by £1bn by 2020, has led to a wider variety of jobs across the sector.
Latest figures show overall a rise of 24,500 jobs in the tourism industry over the past five years increasing from 181,500 to 206,000. The City of Edinburgh has the highest rate of tourism employment, followed by Glasgow City, Highland and Aberdeen City.
In addition to the national growth, there has also been a substantial increase on a regional level with tourism employment rising by 14 per cent in the south of Scotland and by ten per cent in Ayrshire.
Tourism also remains one of the most important employment sectors for Scotland’s rural communities. For example, in Argyll & Bute, there are 69 tourism jobs for every 1000 people work in the sector, the highest number per head of population in the country. This is closely followed by Highland (68), City of Edinburgh (64), Perth & Kinross (60) and Orkney (57).
There has also been a broadening of jobs across different sectors, showing less reliability on a few key sectors or companies. Main growth sectors include restaurants and mobile food service activities (up 22 per cent), botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities (up 25 per cent) and tour operator activities (up 43 per cent).
Fiona Hyslop, tourism secretary, said: “It’s fantastic to see the growth of tourism across Scotland with more people working in the industry and strong increases in a number of sectors like nature reserve activities and tour operator activities.
“The on-going success of tourism reflects the talent, dedication and creativity of people working in the sector. The Scottish Government will do all it can to support this success so Scotland can continue to offer an unrivalled and memorable visitor experience for people who choose our country as their holiday destination.”
Chris Greenwood, senior tourism insight manager at VisitScotland, said: “These figures show positive news for the sector, with an overall rise in jobs since the National Tourism Strategy came into place.
“The visitor economy causes a ripple effect that touches every industry, business and community in the country, from laundry services to life sciences. Tourism is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. For every £60,000 spent by visitors, a new job is created in Scotland.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”