New research highlights potential for wellness tourism as VisitScotland unveils new themed guide


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 32% of people in Great Britain 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 – 26% of which had already been on at least one wellness holiday.

(C) Julie Howden

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 of people 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, standing at 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.”

(C) Julie Howden

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, identified a range of experiences and activities across the country where visitors can focus on enhancing their wellbeing.

Highlights include 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.

To view the full itinerary, click here:

To view the VisitScotland Wellness Tourism topic paper visit: