Scottish Tourism Trends: Wellness

15 Mar 2019

Celebrating Scottish Tourism has grown from the traditional week in March, to taking over the entire month and rightfully so with the incredible contribution the industry makes to Scotland.

Around 1 in 12 of our Registered Businesses are in tourism, employing more than 200,000 people and adding £6billion to the economy – that’s about 5% of the total.

Events such as open days, conferences and awards, are held up and down the country to connect people with - and celebrate - this Scottish tourism businesses. 

One current talking point is that direction that the sector is going in. 

VisitScotland, which produces a yearly Trend Paper, is inspiring tourism leaders to look at new developments, with the focus this year on the global phenomenon of wellness tourism. 

Whatever people think about lifestyle choices such as veganism and clean and organic living, there’s no doubt that they are growing in popularity. Indeed, the extent of this is seen in the growth of wellness tourism (+6.5% annually) being twice as fast as global tourism overall (+3.2% annually). 

There sub-trends too, including ‘sensory tourism’ which is of particular interest to rural businesses in Scotland, where consumers will be looking for the opportunity to connect with nature and to gain unique and authentic experiences. They will look for businesses that are conscious of their impact on the environment and who will enable them to be surrounded by natural beauty. 

As highlighted in the Visit Scotland paper, “with Scotland’s abundant natural assets of landscape, culture, food and drink, and heritage, combined with a varied and vibrant tourism industry, we are well placed to embrace and capitalize on the global movement that is wellness tourism”. 

Many land owners and businesses throughout Scotland are already embracing this trend, finding a sustainable future by striking the balance between social and economic development and delivering improvements to the natural environment. 

In 2017, Hugh Raven, of Ardtornish Estate, commissioned a major study into ecological restoration which is supporting a sustainable development plan for the estate, focused on a form of sensory tourism. Although the estate is well diversified with livestock farming, commercial forestry and renewable energy, among other avenues, Hugh believes that the natural resources at Ardtornish are the greatest asset and that’s why they are investing in ecological rejuvenation and their visitor business. 

The Estate is located on the Morvern peninsula in beautiful Lochaber and has so much to offer visitors who looking to embrace the wellness trend. With the estate sharing land with Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve, which the Scottish Wildlife Trust claims it as their most biodiverse reserve in Scotland, Ardtornish is teeming with wildlife. There’s also traditional field sports, mountain biking and hill walking -  visitors are spoilt for choice. 

Read more about the fantastic rural businesses that have been celebrated for their contribution to Scottish Tourism in our Helping It Happen Awards. Find out more about Scottish Tourism Month and the Visit Scotland Trend Papers.