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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow launches plan to attract one million more visitors by 2023

Published: 29 November 2016

Attracting one million more visitors and positioning Glasgow as the 'gateway to Scotland' is at the heart of ambitious plans to grow the city's tourism economy.

Glasgow's new Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 sets out a clear direction for building the city's global profile as a successful tourist destination and is focused on increasing overnight leisure tourism visits by one million over the next seven years.

Achieving three million overnight visits per year by 2023 will deliver an economic boost of £771 million and contribute an additional 6,600 jobs in the city.

It will also help to achieve Scotland's target of an additional £1 billion of visitor expenditure by 2020 and align with the aims of the Glasgow City Region City Deal; supporting the growth of the region's economy.

To deliver this ambition, Glasgow has prioritised the positioning of its cultural tourism offer in key UK and international markets which, for the first time, is centred around six core themes: heritage; contemporary art; music; Charles Rennie Mackintosh; events and the city's capability as a world-class sporting destination.

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Tourism is a crucial pillar of Glasgow's new economic strategy and the continued growth of our industry will contribute significantly to achieving our goal of becoming the most productive city economy in the UK by 2023.

"Glasgow's biggest opportunity for growth is in leisure tourism and so, for the first time, we will focus our efforts on promoting the key strands that underpin our cultural tourism offer as we know that culture is one of the defining attributes that make a city distinctive.

"At the same time, overseas visitors also come to see the best of Scotland, so we will position Glasgow as the gateway to Scotland to stimulate tourist numbers and spend more widely across the country.

"Through strong partnership working and collaboration with city and national partners, our new tourism plan will continue to build Glasgow's global profile over the next seven years and support the creation of thousands of new jobs in the city while delivering a clear message to our priority UK and international markets that Glasgow is open for business."

As one of Europe's most vibrant and diverse destinations, Glasgow is recognised as a world-class city in which to live, work, study, invest, meet and visit. The city is Scotland's cultural powerhouse - home to the largest cultural offer, the largest sporting infrastructure and the largest retail centre in the UK outside London.

Glasgow is also recognised as having the UK's best Convention Bureau, responsible for securing major domestic and international conference business; is a global top five city for sporting events and, in the SSE Hydro, has the third busiest entertainment arena in the world.

Glasgow currently attracts just over two million tourists each year, spending almost £500 million. Additionally, some 20 million day visitors contribute approximately £1 billion to the local economy on an annual basis.

The city's new tourism plan will also promote Glasgow as a place to study and work and capitalise on the unique characteristics of its greatest asset, its people.

Councillor McAveetyadded: "Our award-winning PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW brand captures our distinctive identity and personality. In combination with VisitScotland's 'Spirit of Scotland' campaign there is a perfect opportunity to showcase our unrivalled products and experiences, which will inspire tourists and deliver compelling reasons to visit Glasgow and Scotland in the years to come."

A new Leadership Group drawn from leading industry figures from the private sector and academia, together with senior representation from key public sector stakeholders including Glasgow Life, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland, will oversee Glasgow's Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 - championing its implementation and steering the city's tourism sector to improve its global competitiveness while addressing any challenges and opportunities.

The Leadership Group will be supported by thematic business engagement workstreams which will coordinate and deliver a wide-range of activity throughout the lifespan of the plan aligned to: destination marketing; customer experience; data and insights; leadership and management development; service excellence; internationalisation; business tourism; digital transformation; innovation and entrepreneurship; transport connectivity; capital investment; jobs and skills; and monitoring and evaluating progress.

A new 'one-stop shop' website has also been created which provides access to the resources, information and contacts needed to help industry engage with and support the delivery of the plan. For more information, visit

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: "Tourism is a key driver of economic success in Glasgow supporting some 32,000 jobs and generating nearly £500 million in revenue annually. 

"Produced in collaboration with city partners, Glasgow's new Tourism and Visitor Plan will provide a comprehensive blueprint for the industry's success over the next seven years while also playing a significant role in helping us reach our goal of an additional £1 billion in visitor expenditure across Scotland by 2020. 

"Tourism is more than a holiday experience; it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.  

"A vibrant cultural hub, Glasgow already welcomes two million visitors ever year and we have no doubt that this new strategy will have a hugely positive impact on tourism in the city through to 2023."

Danny Cusick, Director of Tourism at Scottish Enterprise, said: "Glasgow and Scotland's tourism sector continues to flourish due to the fantastic tourism products on offer, as well as increased global exposure and an appetite from businesses to increase their global competitiveness.

"The tourism sector is a hugely important part of Glasgow's economy and the new Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 will play a vital role in contributing to our growth ambitions for the city.

"Working with our partners, we'll continue to support tourism businesses in Glasgow and right across Scotland, to help them develop their products and services to take full economic advantage of the potential one million more visitors to Glasgow by 2023."

Frank McAveety and Amanda MacMillan

PICTURE CAPTION: Glasgow City Council Leader, Frank McAveety, and Managing Director of Glasgow Airport, Amanda McMillan, are pictured with the city's new Economic Strategy 2016-2023 at the annual State of the City Economy Conference, which took place in Glasgow's Radisson Blu Hotel last Friday (November 25). The launch of Glasgow's Tourism and Visitor Plan is a key early output of the city's new seven-year economic vision.

Published: 29 November 2016

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