VisitScotland has launched its first itinerary dedicated to health and wellbeing.
The online guide, which focuses on the themes of mind, body and spirit, aims to inspire visitors to consider ways how they can enhance and maintain their personal happiness and welfare.
It comes as newly published research, commissioned by the national tourism organisation and conducted by YouGov, reveals almost a third of people in Great Britain (32%) see Scotland as an ideal destination for a wellness holiday.
With 11.8 million visits made to Scotland by people from across the UK, it’s hoped the growing trend could generate millions of additional trips north of the Border, particularly from Londoners – a quarter (26%) of which had already been on at least one wellness holiday.
The new study also found that 31% of those surveyed say that they look after their body by being physically active and 32% take steps to look after their mental health, suggesting that they consider their mental health to be as important as their physical health.
When asked to pick their top 3 reasons for going on holiday or a short break in the UK, a third (33%) of people in Great Britain that had been on holiday in the UK in the last 2 years said they did this to ‘switch off from everyday life’. This was higher if they have children in the household (39%)
Earlier this year VisitScotland dedicated its annual Trends paper to examining the ‘global consumer phenomena’ of wellness tourism, highlighting a range of micro-trends that can help visitors enhance and maintain their personal wellbeing.
Valued globally at $639bn in 2017, wellness tourism has grown more than twice as fast as tourism overall with more and more visitors looking for immersive experiences or ways to improve self-development.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:“ Visitors come to Scotland for many reasons, but the opportunity to enjoy our scenery and landscape is consistently top of the list – people feel better for simply experiencing our country’s natural beauty.
“For those looking to get away from the everyday stresses of modern life, Scotland offers a variety of locations and attractions to support and improve visitors’ overall wellbeing. This online guide showcases the many choices for visitors, allowing them to return time and time again.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “With research showing a third of people in Great Britain saying their main reason for taking a UK holiday or short break is to ‘switch off’ from everyday life, it is clear mental and physical health is becoming an increasingly important part of our holiday experience.
“Whether its wellness through spirituality, creativity or embracing the Great Outdoors, our handy new online itinerary is packed full of fantastic suggestions, ideas and relaxing options that visitors can enjoy while improving their health and wellbeing.
“Scotland’s abundant natural assets lend themselves well to the growing wellness tourism trend and there is a real opportunity for the country to position itself as a top destination for these types of experiences.”
With its stunning landscapes, delicious food and drink and rich culture, the new Wellness itinerary, hosted on visitscotland.com, identified a range of experiences and activities across the country where visitors can focus on enhancing their wellbeing.
Relaxing retreats such as Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Temple in Dumfries and Galloway or Holy Isle – Mindfulness Retreat on the Isle of Arran, where you can take a digital detox, escape busy life and revitalise your mind. While the Body Toolkitteaches you the key tools and techniques to combat stress and negative thoughts, all whilst relaxing in tranquil surroundings of the Scottish Highlands.
Pamper yourself and recharge a weary body with a visit to spa like Taymouth Marina. It’s lochside hot box sauna is a new addition to the shores of Loch Tay and is surrounded by a fire pit, panoramic windows, and gorgeous woodland views wherever you turn. Or why not treat yourself to a deep tissue or Swedish massage to putting your muscles at ease at Stobo Castle in the Scottish Borders, Fairmont St Andrews, Ardoe House Hotel & Spa in Aberdeen, and the Isle of Eriska Spa in Argyll? All of which offer a range of body treatments.
The spirit of Scotland is a magical one and there is something spiritual about walking amidst ancient stone circles, standing stones and sacred attractions. The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis are believed to be 3000-5000 years old, while the Ring of Brodgar, which comprises of 27 stones, is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders and Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona represent some of the country’s oldest spiritual attractions. Finally, follow in the footsteps of saints and embark on a pilgrimage such as the Fife Pilgrim Way, which officially opens this summer, or St Cuthbert’s Way in the Borders.