Commercial property agency GVA’s ‘Hotels Economic and Property Market Review’ has highlighted strong hotel market performance across the UK in 2017. In Scotland, this has been fueled primarily by inbound tourism. VisitScotland statistics show that the number of international tourist trips to Scotland in the first nine months of 2017 increased by 14.6% (to 1.26 million) over the same period of 2016.
This data highlights both the work of VisitScotland in marketing the destination in recent years, with North Coast 500 being the latest addition to the portfolio. Spending by overseas tourists has increased at an even faster rate, rising by 18.3% to £1.85bn from January to September 2017.
The boom in inbound tourism is further evidenced by the two main international airports in Scotland both declaring 2017 to be a record year for passenger numbers. Glasgow recorded around nine million passengers, an increase of 5.8% over 2016. Edinburgh boasted 8.6%, a rise of 13.4 million, bolstered by a 13.8% growth in international passengers to 8.15 million and largely thanks to the addition of 32 new routes.
These tourism statistics led to positive hotel performance metrics across much of the country in 2017. Edinburgh led the way with an 12.4% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR). Average daily room rates (ADR) in the city were over £100 in 2017 for the first time. Glasgow also achieved strong growth (5.2% increase in RevPAR) due largely to a 2.5% increase in occupancy to 82.1%.
Andrew Renouf, director of retail, hotels and leisure for GVA in Scotland, said: “The hotel sector across Scotland has benefitted in 2017 from the continued weakness of sterling in currency markets, coupled with the very high profile of destination Scotland around the world. Further expansion of both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports will continue to open up new markets, with a direct route to China high on the agenda.”
He added: “We have seen high levels of investment and development appetite in key locations as a result of this, and hope that the fundamental market strengths outweigh any impacts of a slowing of the economy highlighted in the latest Scottish government’s State of the Economy report.”