Britain: What Effect Will Scotland’s Rejection of Independence Have on Tourism?


English tourists give Scotland a wide berth as Scots vote on independence. Now that Scots have rejected independence – will tourists return, or will resentment continue to cause travellers to cancel their Scottish travel plans?

English tourists were cancelling visits to Scotland in the run-up to the vote on Scottish independence because of fears of ‘ill feelings’ toward them, The Telegraph reports.

Others didn’t want to spend their money in a Scotland that might opt for independence, ending the United Kingdom as we know it.

Now that the votes are in, and Scots have opted to remain within the United Kingdom, can Scotland’s tourism industry expect a ‘referendum effect’?

Or will English tourists continue to give Scotland a wide berth?

Dutch Treat

But English tourists were not the only ones cancelling trips to Scotland.

Dutch travellers had also expressed the view that the independence issue had made the country a less attractive travel destination, The Telegraph says.

But the referendum had made Scotland a more attractive travel destination in some quarters.

Take Belgium, a country with divisive nationality issues of its own.

Fully 68% of Belgians found Scotland a more attractive travel destination because of the controversy. A much smaller percentage of Spaniards expressed a similar view.

Spain, in fact, has independence movements of its own, and some supporters of Catalonian independence travelled to Scotland on election day to monitor the event, the Huff Post UK reports.

Independence Tourism

According to the Montreal Gazette, a number of Quebec nationalists did the same.

There were even rumours that some Texan supporters of independence for Texas had made the trip across the Atlantic to witness the historic event.

Will the election’s outcome encourage or dash their hopes?

According to the most recent opinion polls, only 20% of Texans would support independence for the Lone Star State.

When all is said and done, news coverage – even when it is negative – can have a very positive long term effect on tourism.

Long after the controvery fades, those televison images of castles and green hills and bagpistists in kilts will remain. 

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad PR. Scotland has been front page news for several weeks now. Its tourism industry can only benefit in the long haul

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