Moffat Centre visitor attraction analysis

July 1999 - June 2017

Live project


According to the latest Scottish Government figures, the tourism sector is worth £4.3bn to the Scottish economy in direct expenditure from overnight visitors and provides employment to 185,900 people.

The Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development collects visitor data from almost 900 leading visitor attractions in Scotland.

The Visitor Attraction Monitor is an annual report on the performance of Scotland’s visitor attractions, with analysis by geographic location and other key variables such as the split between those who visited paid and free admission attractions.

The Visitor Attraction Monitor is compiled for VisitScotland and is used as a source of data by Museums Galleries Scotland and Scotland’s local authorities, and subsequently used by not only the attractions themselves, but also the media, economists and by policy makers.

The work involves collecting, collating and verifying data from public and private sector attractions across Scotland including large operations like national museums and galleries to small independent operators. While the resulting Visitor Attraction Monitor provides a comprehensive picture for one year in the Scottish tourism industry, the monthly Barometer provides an early indication of seasonal and sectoral fluctuations.

The Centre, which carries out a wide range of consultancy and research in tourism, hospitality, events and travel, shares its data with a number of leading bodies including Historic Scotland, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).  Tourism organisations use this data to shape policy, management of visitor attractions and destination marketing.


The Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development is a unique University research centre. The breadth and depth of expertise in the field of visitor attraction monitoring and analysis, together with its reputation for practical, vocational guidance for building capacity means the Moffat Centre is the first port of call for an organisation seeking expert advice in attraction development and marketing.

Led by Professor John Lennon, the Moffat Chair in Travel and Tourism Business Development, the Centre has been undertaking this statistical analysis at a UK level for more than a decade. It is the most continuous recording of visitor attraction data available and has been cited by the OECD and UNWTO as being one of the most important records of attraction flows and performance analysis.

Staff Involved

Visitor data is crucial. We work very well with the Moffat Centre because we can provide a national picture and they can provide us with reciprocal data.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism, Historic Scotland