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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 14/06/2021

Scotland - a water wellness destination

We’ve launched our latest marketing campaign for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, which shines a spotlight on water wellness activities across the country. After a prolonged period of lockdown there is evidence that people are either trying new activities or taking active steps to help look after their health and wellbeing. The growing popularity of activities like wild swimming and paddle-boarding, coupled with the well documented benefits of being near the water, has led to an emerging consumer trend in relation to water wellness. 

Our Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 campaign will reinforce Scotland’s position as an ideal location to capitalise on the popularity of this trend, highlighting relevant experiences, businesses and locations where visitors can enjoy water wellness activities.

The campaign will run throughout summer 2021 and we are encouraging all tourism businesses, groups and activity providers to get involved in sharing this campaign and promoting the water wellness experiences and products your business or destination offers.

What kind of water wellness activities will we be promoting?

  • Activities on or in water i.e. Watersports including sailing, stand up paddle-boarding, surfing, wild swimming, kayaking
  • Activities by or near water i.e. Coastal, river or waterfall walks, other exercise, yoga, meditation, stone skimming, art
  • Enjoying our natural assets – experiencing the relaxation and mental health benefits from being near water i.e. soundscapes such as waves on the beach; the smell of the sea; taking in the view of sunset from the shore or enjoying the view of a loch from a high vantage point
  • Appreciating wildlife - watching and learning about the wildlife that lives in Scotland's marine and inland water environments.

The trend goes beyond watersports, and our campaign will feature a wide spread of experiences that do not involve getting in the water and are less adrenaline focused. This includes wildlife watching, walks along coastal and inland settings, sailing, visiting distilleries, enjoying seafood and visiting coasts and waters-themed attractions. 

We are working with partners including Water Safety Scotland and and RNLI to highlight the importance of staying safe in and around Scotland’s waters and support the #RespectTheWater campaign.

A stand up paddle boarding lesson at Ganavan Bay, Oban. Image credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Water wellness campaign activity

Our campaign activity will showcase the fantastic range of water wellness experiences, both on and near water, that you can discover across Scotland during the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.

New consumer content to support this campaign has included the creation of three new videos focusing on wild swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding and general water wellness experiences. Take time to watch these, and share across your social media platforms to inspire your future visitors.  

You can find our campaign landing page at www.visitscotland.com/water-wellness

Corporate and consumer media releases have been issued and a paid digital advertising campaign will go live later in June.

What’s the evidence?

New YouGov** research commissioned by VisitScotland, as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, found that almost three quarters of UK adults (73%) think that being near water can reduce stress levels, while nearly two thirds (65%) believe it can reduce anxiety and depression. 

It also found that the most popular activity that UK adults would like to do on a holiday in Scotland to help them relax and unwind would be walking along a deserted beach (63%), followed by a walk in woodland (59%). 

If you’d like to find out more about our Water Wellness topic paper, be sure to read the full report.

**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2103 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 20th May 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).  

How to get involved

In addition to our marketing activity, we also want to work with you - the tourism industry. We’ve created some tips below on how to get involved, as the best way to keep Scotland high on the list of must-see destinations is to create a splash across all of our channels for potential visitors to see, wherever they are around the world. So, let’s work together to showcase the fantastic array of water wellness experiences that Scotland offers!

  • Connect with us on social media – use the hashtags #YCW2021 and #VisitScotland to share your posts showcasing your business’ water wellness products and experiences. We have posted on Twitter and Facebook so please do share these posts and add a comment about your business’ water wellness offerings.
  • Create content to promote your own water wellness product or experience - promote your business offering or the experiences on offer in your destination by creating new content that promotes the water wellness trend and harnesses the Year of Coasts and Waters platform. Remember to download the YCW20/21 logo to include in your content!
  • Share the campaign content on your channels – all the videos are freely accessible on YouTube and perfect for you to share. If sharing on social channels remember to tag us in your posts (@VisitScotland) and use the hashtag #YCW2021
  • Create new water wellness products – could you develop a new product or experience that would appeal to your locals and visitors a-like? Please contact your local Industry Relationship Manager (IRM) to receive their support and tourism product expertise.
  • Connect with us – we’re always keen to hear from partners who want to engage with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21. If you’re interested in featuring in a case study to showcase your current or new water wellness products  and experiences, please get in touch by emailing Themedyears@visitscotland.com. Please note: we can only feature a limited number of businesses for our case studies.

We can’t wait to see how you make a splash and get involved with Water Wellness, and the Year of Coasts and Waters. Don’t forget to take a look at our industry toolkit which has a range of downloadable assets and logos, case studies and top tips for hosting a sustainable and responsible Themed Year activity.

Wild swimming at Cullykhan Bay. Image credit: VisitScotland / Discover Fraserburgh / Damian Shields