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Glasgow hails major increase in global visitor numbers

Glasgow hails major increase in global visitor numbers

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The Riverside Museum is one of Glasgow’s top tourist attractions

The number of tourists who visited Glasgow rose by almost 20% last year.

Travel Trends data from the Office for National Statistics also found expenditure increased by more than a third to £319m.

Glasgow’s growth outperformed the Scottish average which saw visitor numbers increase by 17% to 3.2m and spending up 23% to £2.3bn.

The majority of the city’s tourists in 2017 came from Europe and North America.

David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life and deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Attracting more international visitors through creative marketing and inspirational content is at the heart of Glasgow’s tourism plan.

“Our focus is on showcasing Glasgow as an outstanding global city – one that’s welcoming, vibrant and culturally rich with an unrivalled visitor experience and world-class customer service.

“We know the global tourism market is fiercely competitive, but there’s no shortage of compelling reasons to visit Glasgow and that’s reflected in these record figures, which is a real boost to our reputation and tourism economy.”

The figures were published as the city prepares to co-host the inaugural European Championships with Berlin.

They found visitor numbers increased by 19% to 787,000 while expenditure increased by 36%.

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Glasgow’s global marketing strategy included a billboard in New York‘s Times Square

The ONS figures also highlighted a 40% rise in the number of people visiting from North America compared with 2016.

European tourists spent £114m while North American visitors contributied £86m. The average trip lasted five nights.

Glasgow also attracted more North American visitors than Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The city has benefitted from major events such as Celtic Connections, the World Pipe Band Championships and the World Irish Dancing Championships which generated nearly £34m for the local economy.

Glasgow also welcomed a record 500 conferences, worth £123m

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community; generating income, jobs and social change.

“The results of this rise in overseas tourism to Glasgow will see ripple effects across the city and beyond.”