About the Surveys
VisitScotland uses a suite of statistical surveys which combine
to monitor the progress of tourism in Scotland.
Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS)
The GBTS is commissioned jointly by the national tourist boards
of VisitScotland, VisitEngland and VisitWales (the Tourism
Department of the Welsh Government).
It is a national consumer survey analysing overnight domestic
tourism trips taken by residents of Great Britain and involves
100,000 face to face interviews per annum, conducted in home.
A weekly sample of around 2,000 adults (representative of the GB
population) are asked about any overnight trips taken in the last 4
weeks. It provides volume and value estimates of domestic tourism
(from within Scotland, England and Wales).
Further information about the methodology and how this has
changed over time can be found in the GBTS annual
report within the Latest Statistics
Northern Ireland Supplement:
Please note, from January 2011 onwards, data about trips taken
by Northern Ireland residents is collected separately by NISRA
(Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) and is not
reported as part of a UK-wide survey. Data provided by NISRA can be
viewed in the 'Tourism in Scotland: Northern Ireland Supplement'.
This provides an overview of overnight tourism trips to Scotland
made by residents of Northern Ireland.
International Passenger Survey (IPS)
The IPS collects information about passengers entering and
leaving the UK and is run by the Office of National Statistics.
Interviews are carried out at all major airports, sea routes and at
Eurostar terminals and Eurotunnel shuttle trains. Around 250,000
interviews are used to produce annual estimates of overseas travel
Further information is available from the
Office of National Statistics. Please also read the guide
to the IPS and frequently asked questions written by
Great Britain Day Visits Survey (GBDVS)
The GBDVS is commissioned jointly by the
national tourist boards of VisitScotland, VisitEngland and
VisitWales (the Tourism Department of the Welsh Government).
The survey aim is to measure the volume, value and profile of
Tourism Day Visits taken by GB residents to destinations in the
GBDVS started in 2011 and was conducted using
an online methodology. Over 35,000 interviews are conducted
with adults aged 16 and over resident in England, Wales and
Scotland during 52 weekly survey waves. In the survey a
tourism day trip is defined as:
- Taking part in one of a pre-defined list of activities (based
on international tourism definitions)
- Spending 3 or more hours out of the home on this activity
- The activity not being something that the respondent does “very
- The activity not being carried out in the place that the
respondent lives or, if the trip started in the workplace e.g.
socialising after work, the place the respondent works
- The exception to this was trips to visitor attractions, live
sporting events and special public events, which are all counted as
tourism day trips even when in the place of residence, provided
they fulfil the other three criteria.
Further information about the methodology can be found
within the GBDVS annual report within the Latest Statistics section.
Scottish Accommodation Occupancy Survey (SAOS)
VisitScotland also commissions the SAOS, conducted
by research agency, The Moffat Centre to help monitor
occupancy in Scotland's tourist accommodation sectors. The
Accommodation Occupancy Survey gathers and analyses data on
occupancy levels in hotels, guest houses, B&Bs,
self-catering, hostels and caravan & camping parks at a
national and regional level.
Further information about the methodology can be found within
the SAOS annual report within the Tourism
Sectors- Accommodation section.
VisitScotland is tasked by the Scottish Government with the
collection of the data in the GBTS and
Scottish Accommodation Occupancy Survey in accordance with the EU
Directive on Tourism Statistics (Council Directive 95/57/EC) and we
work with the other national tourism boards to ensure
that consistent data is available at a UK level.
Due to the time involved in collecting and analysing the data
from visitors and businesses, there is an unavoidable period of
some weeks between the end of a month and the reporting of its
statistics. We work with our survey agencies to minimise this