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Golf drives Scottish tourism to ever greater heights

Golf drives Scottish tourism to ever greater heights St Andrews welcomed the Open in 2015 driving up tourism figures in Scotland

The monthly LJ Forecaster Scottish Intercity Report has revealed a positive performance in Edinburgh, an expected decline in Glasgow – one year on from the Commonwealth Games – and sustained losses in Aberdeen.

As the summer festival season began to take hold, Edinburgh hoteliers achieved the highest room occupancy with a staggering 91.6 per cent of hotel rooms sold in July 2015.

However, this is down slightly by 0.7 per cent compared to last year.

Following the trend of buoyant Edinburgh festival ticket sales, hotels saw significant room revenue growth.

The average room rate in the city grew a noteworthy 10.3 per cent from last July to £126.30 which lead to the third consecutive month of £100+ ARR.


Complementing Edinburgh Art Festival and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival which took place during the month, city hoteliers benefitted from increased demand due to the Scottish Open Golf held in nearby Gullane and the 2015 Open at St Andrews.

Factoring in both occupancy and revenue performance, Revenue Per Available Room or yield – a key hotel performance metric – was £115.66, up 9.6 per cent compared to last year.

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh said: “July’s hotel occupancy continues the city’s strong performance of recent months.

“Along with flagship events such as the Scottish Open and Edinburgh Jazz Festival attracting thousands of visitors to the city, July also saw a number of high profile business tourism events.”

“The city also looks set for a busy September, with more than 8,000 delegates expected to attend 26 conferences throughout the Edinburgh region, giving its accommodation providers a substantial boost in the post-Festival season.”

Glasgow’s occupancy performance surprised many, as the city sold 1.1 per cent more rooms this year than in July 2014 – a month which registered an impressive eight per cent rise on July 2013 due to hosting the Commonwealth Games.

Unsurprisingly, however, room revenues tumbled from their record high level last year as ARR dropped by 22.3 per cent.

Combining the occupancy and revenue figures, RevPAR stood at £65.18 which although 21.5 per cent below last year remained some 30 per cent higher than in July 2013.

This growth compared to July 2013 highlights the extent of a longer term path of growth in the hotel sector in Glasgow.

In Aberdeen, meanwhile the trend observed throughout the year was again apparent as fewer rooms were sold compared to last year (65.3 per cent compared to 81.7 per cent in July 2014 which constituted a large fall of 20.2 per cent).

Sean Morgan, Managing Director at LJ Research, which compiled the report, said: “The Met Office defines July 2015 as cool, dull and wet.

“For hoteliers in Edinburgh it will be remembered more fondly as the golf and start of the summer festivals contributed to a successful month.

“One year on from the Commonwealth Games the negative performance in Glasgow belies an upbeat trend in the city.

“With significant impact from business and leisure events in the coming months, the strong demand for accommodation recorded in July is unlikely to abate.

“Aberdeen hotel performance has again been heavily affected by a global oversupply of oil. Historically hotel yields have correlated closely with oil prices so it is interesting, and perhaps of some comfort to hoteliers, to see yield trends in recent months outperforming oil price reductions.”