Rich pickings from £500bn industry

‘Wellness’ tourism targeted in new VisitScotland campaign


Visitors are seeking experiences that enhance their wellbeing such as wide open spaces


Scotland is aiming to cash in on the global phenomena of “wellness tourism” which is growing a twice the rate of tourism overall.

More visitors are looking for “immersive experiences” or ways to improve their self-development, according to industry body VisitScotland. It has dedicated its annual Trends paper, published today, to examining how it can help visitors enhance and maintain their personal wellbeing.

VisitScotland Trends 2019 is encouraging tourism businesses to continue embracing the movement by using natural assets such as stunning landscapes, provenance of food and drink and culture to create products that appeal to the growing wellness market, valued globally in 2017 at $639 billion (£500bn).

The paper focuses on those seeking physical health improvement by spending time in green spaces; or developing skills through writing workshops, artists’ retreats, outdoor survival schools and cookery courses.

Trav-agogy focuses on the journey of visitors rather than the overall destination, with more visitors looking to learn about the places they are visiting, immersing themselves in the local culture or learning about history and heritage.

From 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4% annually, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6%) and the wellness industry now represents 5.3% of global economic output.
The data was released at the 12th annual Global Wellness Summit held at Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy, which attracted more than 630 industry leaders from 50 nations.
Europe is the fastest growing spender on workplace wellness while China and India are the fastest growing wellness tourism markets. 

Fiona Hyslop speakingFiona Hyslop: Scotland has something for everyone (pic: Terry Murden DB Media Services)


Scottish 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 travelers 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.”

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