Tam's Tall Tales

Tourism Belongs to Glasgow?

River Clyde in Glasgow

Glasgow is on track to leapfrog Edinburgh as Scotland’s most popular tourist destination for the first time.

Scotland’s largest city has long been in the shadow of its elegant eastern neighbour when it comes to attracting visitors.

However, new figures have revealed that Glasgow is now neck-and-neck with the capital after experiencing a big increase in visitors from the UK.

In 2013 1.3 million people visited Glasgow, while 2.1 million people spent time in Edinburgh. Last year Glasgow’s domestic visitor total more than doubled to 2.1 million, almost matching the 2.2 million who travelled to Edinburgh.

Tourism officials in Glasgow accept that the city’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games made a significant contribution to the 56 per cent increase in visits.

However, they insist that the rise was not a one-off and claim that hotel occupancy rates for this year have been even higher than when Usain Bolt and Tom Daley were in town.

The Great Britain Tourism Survey, which was jointly commissioned by VisitScotland and VisitEngland, also revealed that more people spent hotel nights in Glasgow (5.27 million stays) than in Edinburgh (5.26 million stays) last year, for the first time. Glasgow’s total rose by 44 per cent in 2014, while Edinburgh fell by 3 per cent.

To emphasise the point even more strongly, the 2016 National Geographic Traveler list of 20 "must-see places" is one of the 20 elite locations. Riverside Museum, Buchanan Street and "King Tut's" (a jazz venue) are all entioned in the article. National Geographic features editor Amy Alipio said: "Glasgow landed on our list for 2016 because it is one of the most exciting cities in the world right now. Fans the world over know it's the city's unrivalled music scene that really embodies Glasgow's energy and swagger."

Graphic on the left shows the Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow Tower and Imax cinema - popular attractions on the banks of the river Clyde.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
November 2015

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