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Visit Scotland | Alba


  • In today’s rapidly changing world, having an informed outlook is vital. It is important to look at the trends and drivers which are influencing the behaviour of travellers now and into the future to ensure Scottish tourism can grow and adapt.
  • Since our first trends publication in 2013, we have used horizon scanning methods to report on key consumer trends ranging from adaptable adventure, the art of now to wellness and voluntourism.
  • A review of our trends work is currently underway.

1. 2021 Trends

Understanding emerging consumer trends was particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, we explored the evolving trends and consumer expectations as we started to recover from the lockdowns of 2020.

  • Localism and authentic experiences

    Consumers have long been encouraged to "discover what’s on your doorstep" and "think global, act local", however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this became a much more tangible concept for all.

    Localism and authentic experiences insights paper

    Published May 2021

  • Hard adventure

    There is much evidence that the fundamental need for outdoor activities – which has been a growing tourism driver for years – has been further strengthened by the pandemic-related restrictions, with an increasing number of people becoming more active in their own local areas or looking for alternative ways of staying healthy and physically fit.

    Adaptable adventure insights paper

    Published May 2021

  • Workcations

    Individuals are being enabled to make decisions about working environments based on their own personal circumstances and, as such, can choose to work from less traditional settings or combine work with opportunities to undertake leisure activities.

    Workcationing insights paper

    Published May 2021

  • Artisanal retail and food and drink

    Consumers are looking to reconnect with the processes and products they use and the people producing them, both at home and as part of planned trips. Supporting small businesses forced to close during lockdown has encouraged digital adoption in these SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) and increased access to their products.

    Artisanal retail and food drink insights paper

    Published May 2021

  • Voluntourism

    Consumers want to travel more sustainably and manage their interactions with a destination and its residents in a thoughtful manner. Volunteering time and energy to a related cause will help deliver the mindfulness and engagement drivers many visitors seek through travel.

    Voluntourism insights paper

    Published May 2021

  • Wellness

    Wellness tourism has different connotations for different people. For some it will mean yoga retreats and spa breaks. For others, it might be more linked to physical activities such as walking or mountaineering.

    Wellness tourism insights paper

    Published May 2021

2. 2020 Trends

Exploring transformational tourism, a movement amongst consumers to travel with purpose and cause. Visitors want their trips to have meaning, challenge, connection and impact. We examine how destinations can be a backdrop to personal fulfilment, alongside the theme of sustainability.

2020 Trends

Published February 2020

3. 2019 Trends

Exploring the connection between travel and wellness, looking at the following themes:

Art of Now

How a destination can support the development of an individual. Trends include the rise of the artisan, baby comes too, frictionless travel and creative retreats.

Sensory tourism

How rural and urban destinations can contribute to the visitors desire to experience tangible sensations. Trends include restorative recreation, unexpected adventures, weather wanderers, spiritual inspirations and green getaways.

New society norms

How people are seeking something meaningful in their lives. Trends include once in a mid-life time, social business mixers and sensing the change.

2019 Trends

Published January 2019

4. 2018 Trends

We explored four broad areas or themes which were influencing trend development in 2018. We went on to look at the opportunities from five trends including wellness, Cosagach (our interpretation of cosiness and comfort), elemental tourism and digital trends.

2018 Trends

Published November 2017

5. 2017 Trends

Back in 2017, our trends looked at mild camping, tourism investment and product development, fluid itinerary travel, the silence of wellbeing and opportunities around dark tourism and literary tourism.

2017 Trends

Published November 2016

Non-traditional tourism businesses, Scotland’s dark side and more.

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