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The whole ‘tourism economy’ accounts for approximately 5% of Scotland’s economic output, whilst the hospitality element accounts for 3%. The sector is a significant employer across Scotland. The sector provides employment for approximately 200,000 people (around 1in every 12 Scottish jobs). 15 million tourists took overnights trips to Scotland in 2008 spending £4 billion.

The majority of businesses are small and independent (64%). Many of the micro businesses operating within the sector in Scotland are geographically isolated, as tourists are often attracted to remote areas of the country. 72% of sector businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), of which 76% of the workforce work. 28% of all businesses are owner operated without staff.

The sector employs a very young workforce with almost half being under the age of 30 years. 61% of the workforce is female, but few women work in senior positions within the sector.

94% of Scotland’s hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce describe their ethnicity as white, 2% as Asian or British Asian, and 3% as Chinese. Across the industries, a higher proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic workers work in the restaurant industry (12%) than in other industries. Approximately 15% of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce were born overseas.

44% of the workforce is employed on a part-time basis and 9% on a temporary. This varies across the sector, with part-time work being more prevalent in the hospitality industry (45%) and less in the travel (24%) and events management (16%) industries.

27% of sector businesses in Scotland had frozen recruitment during the last 12 months, 32% were employing fewer temporary staff and 27% of businesses have cancelled plans to expand their workforce.

In 2008, sector employers reported that 43% of vacancies were proving hard-to-fill. In November 2008, there were 5,630 registered unemployed people looking for work in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector in Scotland. This rose to 8,100 in November 2009. It is estimated that this equates to 1.3 people looking for a job in the sector per vacancy (compared to 0.7 people per job in November 2008).

Employees in the tourism sector hold lower levels of qualification than the economy as a whole, for example 26% of tourism employees have a degree and other higher education qualifications compared to 37% of all Scottish employees.

Source: Scotland Sector Skills Assessments 2010