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An in-depth review of the current market for Scottish breaks

Brought to you by Sykes Holiday Cottages

What’s in this report:

2022 in a nutshell

What to expect from the staycation sector and those visiting Scotland this year

We reveal the spike in holiday let bookings located in Scotland post-pandemic, alongside the estimated impact on the Scottish economy in 2022.
Our research includes key findings from our bookings data, as well as insights from research we conducted amongst those from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Interesting facts

  • Staycations in Scotland have increased by 47% year-on-year in 2022
  • For 42% of those travelling to Scotland this year, it will be their main summer holiday
  • 80% of Scots are planning a Scottish staycation this year
  • January was the busiest month in 2022
  • The average length of a holiday in Scotland is 7 days
  • UK holidaymakers are set to boost Scotland’s economy by £19 billion in 2022
  • The average holidaymakers plans to spend £1,100 on their break in Scotland
  • 32% of UK adults have already booked at least one holiday or overnight trip in Scotland in 2022

A breakdown of the most popular types of travellers to Scotland in 2022

  • Couples – increase in bookings by 55% year-on-year
  • Adult groups – increased in bookings by 45% year-on-year
  • Family groups – increase in bookings by 32% year-on-year

Top 5 travel destinations in Scotland for 2022

  1. Southerness
  2. Aviemore
  3. Newtonmore
  4. Kirkcudbright
  5. Cullen

Where’s trending? – destination hotspots

The most in-demand Scottish staycation destinations this year

From the Highlands to its borders, Scotland’s rich history and lush terrain has left holidaymakers spoiled for choice this past year.

Across the north and the south of the country, thousands of guests are setting out to explore, hungry to experience the plethora of historic locations and panoramic views.

5 most popular regions over the Scottish school summer holidays

  1. The Highlands
  2. Moray
  3. Aberdeenshire
  4. Dumfries and Galloway
  5. Scottish Borders

5 Scottish holiday destinations that Brits would most like to visit

  1. Shetland Islands
  2. Outer Hebrides
  3. Orkney Islands
  4. Isle of Mull
  5. Isle of Skye

Top 10 most-booked staycation destinations this summer (June – August)

  1. Southerness
  2. Newtonmore
  3. Nairn
  4. Aviemore
  5. Cullen
  6. Staffin
  7. Coldingham
  8. Grantown-On-Spey
  9. Kirkcudbright
  10. Portknockie

Interesting Facts

  • Braegarie in Aberdeenshire is the most popular destination for a weekend minibreak, followed by Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway
  • Most popular destinations for Scottish travellers in 2022 are Cullen, southerness and Braegerie
  • Only 16% of Scots have ever visited the Inner Hebrides and just 13% have been to the Shetland Islands

We look at people’s reasons for choosing Scotland and the travel trends emerging

Scotland is marked as a preferred staycation destination for 2022 – with many being won over by its family-friendly nature and the abundance of adventures available.

From seeing the northern lights to whale watching and stargazing, Scotland continues to attract visitors from every corner of the UK.

Interesting facts

  • 71% of those polled think Scotland is a family-friendly holiday destination
  • 34% said they would prefer to travel to Scotland in autumn or winter versus summer
  • 71% of Brits think Scotland has the most impressive landscapes within the UK
  • 53% of UK adults would consider a Scottish glamping holiday in a yurt, shepherd’s hut or lodge
  • 29% said they would consider trying a skiing holiday in Scotland
  • Price is the number one reason behind choosing a holiday in Scotland, followed by beautiful scenery and ease of travel

Most in-demand property features in Scotland this year

  1. Swimming pool
  2. Sauna
  3. Pool table
  4. Hot tub
  5. WiFi

Trending ‘bucket list’ experiences in Scotland this year

  1. Spotting the northern lights
  2. Exploring the Isle of Skye
  3. Whale and Dolphin watching
  4. A trip of Loch Ness
  5. Driving the North Coast 500 route
  6. Going stargazing
  7. Visiting a Scottish castle
  8. Climbing a Munro
  9. Going off grid in Scotland
  10. Attending Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Spotlight on holiday letting

Revealing all about the country’s holiday let owners

After a difficult few years, Scotland’s holiday let owners are beginning to reap the rewards of the industry booming once again.

With Scotland’s rich countryside clearly in demand, we take a look at what makes a successful holiday let in Scotland.

Top 5 earning regions within Scotland (based on average annual income)

  1. Midlothian – £23,500
  2. West Lothian – £22,800
  3. Inverclyde – £22,000
  4. East Lothian – £18,500
  5. West Dunbartonshire – £17,700

Interesting facts

  • £14,700 is the average annual income per property in Scotland
  • 28% of Scottish adults would consider setting up a holiday let in the future

Most in demand local amenities to attract visitors

  1. Fishing – demand up 82% year-on-year
  2. Pubs – demand up 61% year-on-year
  3. Cycling routes – demand 60% year-on-year
  4. Walking routes – demand 57% year-on-year
  5. Coastlines – demand up 39% year-on-year

In January 2022 the Scottish government introduced ‘Short Term Let Accommodation Licences’ where holiday home owners must apply to local authorities for permission to let out their properties.

“While the self-catering industry has always fully supported guest and operator safety, the new regulations could create challenges for some. The ASSC will support businesses and the wider tourism sector in this area to ensure that property owners bring the benefits of tourism to life in a responsible and sustainable way.”

“With the rise of staycations in Scotland, the trend of holidaying closer to home is set to contribute to a number of new jobs and bolster local economies in communities up and down Scotland.”

– Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC)

Our conclusion

Another year of success for Scotland’s staycation market

As the tourism industry emerges from the throws of the pandemic, the trend of opting for staycations and travelling closer home is here to stay.

Although international travel restrictions are now a distant memory, many travellers have experienced the wonders of holidaying on UK soil and they are not ready to stop exploring.

Our data for 2022 shows that a growing number of travellers are opting for Scotland as their first-choice holiday destination in the UK. And as a proud Scot myself, I can hardly blame them.

With rugged coastlines, mirror-like lochs and a hearty food and drink scene, there is so much to discover north of the border. It is fast becoming the go-to destination for adventure-seekers to fulfil their travel dreams, while it’s also the perfect destination for families to relax and unwind.

Based on our consumer research, Scotland is likely to stay a preferred travel destination throughout the rest of 2022 and beyond – with bookings in autumn and winter already confirmed.

And as millions choose Scottish breaks, a growing number of people across Scotland and the rest of the UK are capitalising on this trend by setting up their own holiday let businesses.

As ever, a big thank you to our hard-working property owners, guests and the full Sykes Holiday Cottages family for their contributions over the past year.

We are thrilled to welcome another successful summer of staycations in Scotland and look forward to another busy autumn and winter ahead.

– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages

Methodology & data sources

Bookings data for the year ahead was used to provide a snapshot of the staycation market, while comparisons with full-year data from 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 were used to identify market trends.

Supporting consumer research of 1,500 UK adults and 1,000 Scottish adults was carried out by OnePoll in May 2022.

Contribution to Scottish economy – UK adult population multiplied by proportion that plans to travel to Scotland in 2022 (32%) multiplied by planned spend (£1,100).


For further information on the report findings, methodology or press enquiries then please contact

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