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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 16:01 GMT
Bold target for tourism industry
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The report forecasts a bright future for Scotland's tourism industry
Scotland's tourism industry aims to grow by 50% within the next decade, according to a new report.

The Framework for Change document said the industry should aim to double the 4.9bn it generates for the economy.

The Scottish Tourism Forum report, which sets out 16 targets for the industry, was revealed to delegates at the Scotland United conference in Fife.

Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson said it had been a good year, but warned against industry complacency.

The report was compiled after research by VisitScotland revealed tourists wanted more customised trips and flexible holidays.

It said a 20% increase in tourist numbers was more likely over the next 10 years, with higher spending being responsible for the rest of the extra cash.

The industry aims to grow tourism by 50% over the next 10 years
Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson

Ms Ferguson said the industry needed to continue improving in the face of fierce global competition.

"This has been a good year for Scottish tourism. Domestically hotel occupancy rates across the country have been at record levels," she said.

"Overseas visitors continue to come here in ever increasing numbers, with strong growth in the North American and European markets.

"But we cannot become complacent because global competition is fierce."

'Ambitious plans'

The minister added: "This draft framework is not just another government strategy, but proposals framed by Scotland's tourism businesses, which are ambitious, challenging and innovative.

"The industry aims to grow tourism by 50% over the next 10 years, an ambition shared by this government, which could help achieve the long-held goal of full employment."

Hotel staff
Overseas visitor numbers have risen in Scotland

The report highlighted the importance of the UK market - with 44% of trips in Scotland made by Scots themselves and 47% by visitors from England and Wales.

But it said overseas markets were growing faster, with a 20% increase in visitors in 2004 on the previous year.

The framework suggested the main opportunities for growth could come from the UK market, along with Europe and North America.

It believed the overseas leisure sector would see the biggest increase - including people coming to visit friends and family - with the number of business visitors also rising.

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