Scottish tourism businesses should target people from the UK and Germany as they try to recover from the lockdown, according to researchers.
As part of a major data project, University of Edinburgh Business School is helping with a recovery plan for the tourism industry by highlighting which visitors are most interested in travelling to Scotland and can afford it.
The project, in association with the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), shows UK visitors are the largest group interested and able to afford a visit.
Looking outside the UK, the project said Germany should be targeted next as data showed that visitors were showing a strong interest and would not have to self-isolate on arrival.
Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, and Poland should be targeted afterwards as countries which are classed as “will be able to visit soon”.
The project was led by Dr Ewelina Lacka, lecturer in digital marketing and analytics at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
She said: “We used data from internet search engines, consumer confidence indexes, web traffic and information from members of the ETAG to help build a strong picture of where marketing is best targeted in the weeks and months ahead.
“Getting information on consumer confidence is key as we enter a long period of economic uncertainty. Tourism businesses need to know whether people are likely to spend on visits, not just whether they are interested.”
A visualisation tool has been developed and is freely available online at tourism-insights-scotland.co.uk.
The colour-coded global map will provide monthly updates on key visitor markets as new data become available.
Tourism businesses are encouraged to use the tool regularly to monitor changes over time.
Dr Lacka added: “Although international travel will resume, the domestic market will play a key role for some time.
“Although the US represents the second-largest visitor group to Scotland, it is worth noting web traffic data indicating that although they are interested in visiting, they don’t seem to be making firm travel plans.
“Instead, it seems clear that Germany should be the first overseas market that tourism businesses in Edinburgh and across Scotland prepare to target.
“The visitor economy is of crucial importance to Edinburgh and Scotland, and I hope the material we have produced inspires business owners in their recovery plans.”