Valued globally at $639bn in 2017, wellness tourism has grown more than twice as fast as tourism overall with visitors looking for immersive experiences or ways to improve self-development. The annual Trends paper published by the tourism agency examined the ‘global consumer phenomena,’ highlighting a range of micro-trends that can help visitors enhance and maintain their personal wellbeing.
The potential trends for 2019 include: Restorative Recreation, which focuses on Scotland’s beautiful landscapes and scenery highlighting the emotional benefits of ‘ecotherapy’ and long-term, physical health improvements associated with time spent in green spaces; and Creative Retreats, which enables travellers to create lifelong memories – focusing on the role of hobbies, skills development and unique opportunities. The paper suggests ‘writing workshops, artists retreats, outdoor survival schools and cookery courses could all enhance the popularity of a destination.
The other trends include: Trav-agogy, which focuses on the journey of visitors rather than the overall destination. More visitors are looking to learn about the destination, immersing themselves in the local culture or learning about history and heritage; and Green Getaways as more visitors today appreciate the impact travel can have on the environment.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘2019 looks to be another exciting year for tourism with this new paper highlighting the potential for businesses to invest in experiences which are beneficial for people’s health and wellbeing.
‘Whether it’s our fantastic scenery which is encouraging people to experience our great outdoors, or activities like cookery workshops or outdoor retreats which are helping to develop people’s skills, it’s clear that Scotland really does have something for everyone.’
Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland Senior Insights Manager, said: ‘Our annual trends paper is designed to help the tourism sector, showing them what consumers want and inspiring businesses to adapt or develop their products accordingly.
‘Wellness tourism is a trend that’s not going away and is expected to continue growing. With wellness travellers found to be very high-spending, high-yield tourists, there is huge potential for businesses who want to appeal to this market, creating experiences that enlighten the sense and feed the soul. Fortunately, Scotland’s ability to embrace wellness within our visitor economy is embedded within our tourism industry DNA.
‘Tourism is more than a holiday experiences- it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.’