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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 21/01/2019

Our annual Trends paper was published this week examing the 'global consumer phenomena' of wellness tourism and highlighting a range of micro-tends that can help visitors enchance 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.

Designed to stimulate thought among tourism businesses, Trends 2019 is encouraging 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.

Examples of potental Trends for 2019 include:

Restorative Recreation - using recent studies, which have highlighted the long-term, physical health improvements associated with time spent in green spaces, this trend focuses on our world-famous landscapes and scenery and the potential to grow the outdoor activities’ industry to capitalise on the emotional benefits of ‘ecotherapy’.

Creative Retreats - with the overall experience and ability to create lifelong memories becoming an increasingly important part of travelling, this trend focuses 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 add to the attractiveness of a destination. By sharing your interests with your visitor you can build relationships and garner those all important referrals to friends and relatives.’

Trav-agogy - this trend 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, whether by learning a new skill or through an immersive learning experience.

Green Getaways - with more visitors appreciating the impact travel can have on the environment and looking at ways to offset this while still achieving the experiences they desire, there is an opportunity for tourism businesses to demonstrate their own practices or demonstrate how they can support their visitors’ objectives.

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.

Tourism Secretary, Fiona Hyslop

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.

Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland Senior Insights Manager

To view the full Trends 2019 report, visit