Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Staycations boost tourist numbers

The trend for taking holidays in Scotland continued
The trend for taking holidays in Scotland continued

The number of Scots who chose to stay at home for their holidays last year was up by 15% on 2008.

Visit Scotland said on average tourists stayed a little bit longer than they did in the previous year although they spent slightly less.

There was a surge in the short break market with a 13.5% rise in holiday trips lasting one to three nights.

Holiday camps saw a 16.5% rise in business during the year and camping trips increased by almost 3%.

Visit Scotland said the 'staycationers' had helped the Scottish tourism industry hold its own.

The tourist body has carried out a survey which it said showed that the trend was here to stay.

Some 54% of the 2,000 people questioned pledged to explore the UK more in the decade ahead and 20% were determined to get out and about and enjoy local wildlife.

As Valentine's Day approached, 31% had resolved to go on more romantic breaks.

Visit Scotland has launched a fresh drive to persuade people to enjoy a winter break in Scotland.

Many ski resorts have reported their best season for decades.

More people may have been staying at home for their holidays but the tough economic times have had an impact on the amount tourists spent.

Overall visitor spend decreased slightly in 2009 by about 1%.

Philip Riddle, Visit Scotland's chief executive said: "Today's figures are encouraging and we're starting 2010 with cautious optimism.

"In the current climate, perhaps, more so than ever, it's vital we all work together to sing Scotland's praises and look towards the new decade with determination."

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