Scottish tourism chiefs are to launch a new drive to promote the nation as a haven of peace and tranquillity after a new report found it was one of the quietest countries in Europe.
Businesses are being urged to cash in on growing interest in health and wellbeing holidays by promoting the nation’s most remote wilderness areas and spectacular landscapes as the ideal retreats.
It wants to encourage new fitness “boot camps,” spa retreats and yoga sanctuaries, capitalise on the fact the country has some of the darkest skies in Europe due to its low light pollution and even sell remote Scotland on its spiritual power.
VisitScotland has identified “the deafening silence of wellbeing” as one of the key growth areas for 2017 and has called on the industry to help promote the peacefulness of Scotland.
It has highlighted a European Environment Area study which found that protecting areas unaffected by noise can “bring significant environmental and health benefits.”
VisitScotland’s latest advice on industry trends for 2017 states: “The modern consumer is constantly surrounded by sounds both natural and technological, and is often a contributor to stress and anxiety.
“The growth of interest in health and wellbeing by consumers is transcending across multiple industries. The opportunity for tourism business to capitalise is tremendous when you consider our natural landscape.”
Chris Greenwood, senior tourism insight manager at VisitScotland, said: “We now have empirical evidence to show Scotland is one of the quietest countries in Europe. Even in the central belt, which is the noisiest part of Scotland relative to the rest of it, you only have to travel a short distance to get to a quiet area.
“The EU report pointed out that noise pollution has a major impact on health and the environment in Europe. We see this as something that could inspire tourism businesses here. It also ties into a broader wellness and mindfulness trend, which is a global phenomenon. We know there are businesses that already embrace it but we want to encourage many more to see it as a positive thing.
“Sectors of society are cash rich and time poor now. They’re trying to get bite-sized experiences over a couple of days, or looking to go a retreat for a fortnight. It’s less about the consumer element and more about the experience.
“Scotland benefits from really low light pollution, particularly in rural areas. Some of the darkest skies in Europe are here. You can drive an hour away from Edinburgh and Glasgow, immerse yourself in another world and think about your place in the universe.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland’s regional director for the Highlands, added: “While the Highlands is renowned throughout the world for its rich heritage and dramatic scenery, it is perhaps harder to convey the sense of peace and tranquillity one experiences in this beautiful part of the world.
"With clear links being made between silence and wellbeing, potential visitors now have yet another reason to enjoy a holiday here.”