Record numbers of Scots will holiday at home this year

As schools across Scotland begin to finish for summer, new research has shown that more Scots than ever planning to stay on home soil for their holidays this year.

Sykes Holiday Cottages claims that 80% will holiday in Scotland instead of going abroad this year – with 42% stating that it will be their main summer holiday – according to surveys of 1,500 UK adults and 1,000 Scottish adults carried out by OnePoll in May.

The Highlands, Moray and Dumfries and Galloway are the three most popular regions for those staying at home in Scotland this summer, with popular travel towns including Cullen, Nairn and Southerness.

Holiday bookings in Scotland have risen over the past few years, with Sykes bookings data from 2019 to 2022 showing a 47% increase year-on-year in bookings to its Scottish holiday lets – and a 32% uplift compared to 2019.

Demand for Scotland as a preferred holiday destination is being seen more widely across the UK too, with a just under a third of all UK holidaymakers already having a trip booked to Scotland in 2022 – and a further 29% planning to before the end of the year.

Looking at all bookings from across the UK, Dumfries and Galloway has overtaken the Highlands as the most in demand holiday region in Scotland this year, with Southerness leading the way for the most booked destination over summer.

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

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

The average holidaymaker plans to spend £1,100 on their break in Scotland – including accommodation, travel, food and spending money – which is expected to boost Scotland’s economy by an estimated £19bn this year.

Scotland’s scenery is cited as the second biggest reason behind travel, with 71% of Brits believing Scotland has the most impressive landscapes in the UK.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive 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.

“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 34% of UK adults said they would prefer to travel to Scotland in autumn or winter compared to summer, with 29% stating they would consider skiing in the country.

Glamping holidays are rising in popularity this year, with 53% of UK adults considering a Scottish staycation in a yurt, shepherd’s hut or lodge.

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.

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