Brits flock to Scotland in record numbers as airport chaos continues to bite

Brits are booking holidays to Scotland in their droves as trips abroad continued to be mired by airport chaos.

A new report predicts a bumper summer of staycations in Scotland, with a third (32%) of UK holidaymakers already booking trips to country and a further 29% planning to by the end of the year

Holiday let bookings in Scotland are up 47% year-on-year according to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ data – with a record number of Scots also planning to remain closer to home

The average holidaymaker plans to spend £1,100 on their break in Scotland – including accommodation, travel, food and spending money – meaning a boost to Scotland’s economy of an estimated £19 billion this year.

Holiday bookings in Scotland have continued to rise in popularity over the past few years, and particularly boomed during the worst of the pandemic when trips abroad were difficult.

Portree on the Isle of Skye is always popular (

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Dumfries and Galloway has overtaken the Highlands as the most in demand holiday region in Scotland for 2022, with Southerness leading the way for the most booked destination over summer, according to the new report.

Other popular towns to travel to this summer include Newtonmore, Nairn and Aviemore as well as Cullen in Moray.

For more than four in 10 (42%) Brits travelling to Scotland this year, it will be their main summer holiday.

The average length of stay stands at seven days, and the lead time from booking to travel 160 days, on average.

As the cost of living crunch bites, price appears to be the number one incentive for travellers choosing to holiday in Scotland.

Larger and larger numbers of people are choosing Scotland as a holiday destination (


Scotland’s scenery is cited as the second biggest reason behind travel, with more than seven in 10 (71%) Brits believing Scotland has the most impressive landscapes in the UK.

The top five factors influencing Brits’ choice of staycation accommodation in Scotland are proximity to walking routes, cycling routes, fishing, coastlines and pubs.

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “Although most international travel restrictions are now a distant memory, many travellers have enjoyed staying close to home and they are not ready to stop exploring.

“Our data for 2022 shows that a growing number of people see Scotland as their first-choice UK holiday destination, and as a proud Scot myself, I can hardly blame them.

“With rugged coastlines, beautiful lochs and a hearty food and drink scene, there is so much to discover throughout the country.

“Scotland has been popular with adventure-seekers for a while, but even more families are opting for Scottish summer holidays this year given the squeeze on household budgets.”

The report also found that a third (34%) of UK adults said they would prefer to travel to Scotland in autumn or winter compared to summer, with three in 10 (29%) stating they would consider skiing in the country.

Summers in the west of Scotland are notoriously blighted by great clouds of midges.

An iconic Highland cow (

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The Shetland Islands are the number one holiday destination Brits say they would most like to visit, followed by the Outer Hebrides and Orkney Islands.

The Isle of Mull and the Isle of Skye come fourth and fifth, respectively.

The top travel experiences driving demand include spotting the Northern Lights, exploring the Isle of Skye, whale and dolphin watching, a trip to Loch Ness and driving the North Coast 500.

Top 10 travel destinations for all holidaymakers in Scotland this summer:

  1. Southerness (Dumfries and Galloway)
  2. Newtonmore (Highlands)
  3. Nairn (Highlands)
  4. Aviemore (Highlands)
  5. Cullen (Moray)
  6. Staffin (Highlands)
  7. Coldingham (Scottish Borders)
  8. Grantown-On-Spey (Highlands)
  9. Kirkcudbright (Dumfries and Galloway)
  10. Portknockie (Moray)

Trending ‘bucket list’ experiences in Scotland this year:

  1. Spotting the Northern Lights
  2. Exploring the Isle of Skye
  3. Whale and dolphin watching
  4. A trip to Loch Ness
  5. Driving the North Coast 500
  6. Going stargazing
  7. Visiting a Scottish castle
  8. Climbing a Munro
  9. Going off grid in Scotland
  10. Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh