Scotland to promote wellness tourism

Scotland is planning to promote the global movement in the travel industry known as ‘wellness tourism,’ according to VisitScotland.

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.’

‘Returnerism’ trending among UK holidaymakers, ATOL research

‘Returnerism’ is common among UK holidaymakers, with nearly a third of people (30 per cent) returning to the same holiday destination every single year, new research from ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License) has found.

According to a release by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, from survey results an average person has been to the same holiday resort four times, and more than a tenth of UK holidaymakers (11 per cent) have returned to the same holiday spot ten or more times. ‘Returnerism’ also signals that holidaymakers eliminate middlemen as they become more familiar with holiday booking and destinations. Two fifths (40 per cent) of travellers book their flights, hotel and transfer all independently, rather than booking them together through a travel company.

However, a common side effect of ‘returnerism’ is that tourists fail to check for ATOL protection – potentially putting their holiday at risk, the release said. Booking an ATOL protected holiday through a UK travel company would mean holidaymakers are protected even if the company ceases trading, it added.

Commenting on the research, Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL said: ‘Our research shows that many of us in the UK are creatures of habit who love the comfort of taking our well-earned summer breaks in familiar surroundings that we know inside out.

‘But with so many UK tourists returning to the same holiday destination year after year, they may be tempted to book their own arrangements rather than use a travel company. If you book a ‘DIY’ holiday in this way you will not be ATOL protected – losing out on that important protection for your holiday and money if something happens to the companies you book with.

‘So even when people know their destination really well, it’s important to remember to pack peace of mind when booking, by checking for ATOL protection. Booking flights and accommodations together with a UK travel company means you will be ATOL protected, your money will be safe and you can concentrate on looking forward to that well-earned holiday.’

According to the research, the most popular country for tourists to return to is Spain, with The Canary Islands, The Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol and Benidorm all featuring in the list of top holiday resorts most commonly returned to. Also long distance destinations do not deter tourists from returning, with both Orlando and California also featuring in the top ten.

Holidaymakers are likely to follow their usual travel traditions at the destination too. Nearly a third of people (31 per cent) said they book the same hotel and a tenth (nine per cent) will even look for the same room. Over a third of the tourists (34 per cent) will dine at the same restaurant and over a quarter (26 per cent) will go to the same pub or bar on every trip, the release noted

The ATOL survey was conducted, in February – questioning 2,000 UK adults who holiday abroad. ‘Returnerism’ has been defined as ‘an ‘illness’ which UK holidaymakers find themselves suffering from when they return to the same holiday destination year in year out.’

London’s best-kept secrets you have to visit

London is a great place to visit, especially when you learn there are an abundance of hidden gems to explore. Once you have decided on a hotel – Superbreak London hotels boast over 350 central establishments – you can then begin planning your itinerary.

Neasden temple

Not many know that London boasts its very own temple. Situated just a short distance from the North Circular, this is one of the first and largest traditional Hindu Mandir’s to be constructed outside of India.

Aside from the intense atmosphere, this is a beautiful place to visit and one that will make you feel a world away from home.

Eltham Palace

Celebrated for its impressive art deco skylight, Eltham Palace takes pride of place in the list of London’s top secret hidden gems. Created by the millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, this 1930s mansion is a must-see attraction and one that can only be described as a masterpiece.

A few of the highlights include the magnificent panelled dining room, the medieval Great Hall and the luxurious bathroom.

Wimbledon Windmill Museum

Positioned on the edge of Wimbledon Common, the Windmill, which was first constructed in 1817, has now been restored to its former glory. Aside from serving the local community, it has been a distinct landmark and one that is enjoyed by its many visitors. Inside you’ll find exhibits of local history and rural life.

Phoenix Gardens

If you’re searching for a haven of relaxation amidst a busy central city, then a trip to the Phoenix Gardens may be just the ticket. Positioned just of Charing Cross Road, it’s hard to even hear the hustle and bustle of the outside world, especially as you sit surrounded by wild flowers and open space.

Cockney Cash Machine

Although a relatively new secret, there are only five of these cash machines in existence. Once you have inserted your card, you’ll be asked which language you’d prefer – Cockney or English.

Those who choose Cockney will be met with slogans such as ‘sausage & mash’, ‘Some Moolah For Ya Sky Rocket?’ and ‘Balance on Fleet Street’. Thankfully there are translations available.

Camley Street National Park

Situated directly behind St Pancras Station, it’s hard to imagine such an area of tranquillity exists. With over two acres of green space to explore, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were anywhere but in the heart of London.