Savills plc

02/19/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/19/2021 03:02

Experiencing Scotland post-lockdown

The rise of the staycation has been well reported, but to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world of tourism, simply offering a good dinner, bed and breakfast may not be enough. The reopening of the sector post lockdown is a moving target, but 'experiential' is the new buzzword and Scottish operators are well-placed to capitalise on this trend when the time is right.

Scotland is renowned for its outstanding scenery and diverse array of wildlife. The last year has seen an explosion in demand for outdoor experiences, allowing people to reconnect with nature, relax and get away from it all.

Scotland experienced an influx of domestic holidaymakers in 2020, with demand for staycations predicted to reach a decade high this summer. According to research by Mintel, the UK's staycation industry will experience a 22 per cent surge in spending this summer, up from £5.8 billion in 2019. While domestic holidays for the entirety of 2021 will reportedly remain 11 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, Mintel believes the market is on track to recover fully by 2022.

The increasing popularity of a staycation isn't simply the result of Covid-19 travel restrictions: it was already a rising trend. 2019 marked a big increase in domestic overnight tourism in Scotland, becoming the best year over the last decade. UK residents made 14.1 million overnight visits to Scotland, accounting for 80 per cent of all overnight trips. Outdoor leisure activities increased by 18 per cent in 2019, with 'other' leisure activities increasing by 20 per cent. The lockdown restrictions over the last year have only increased the demand for such experiences.

'Curious travellers,' which make up 1.9 million UK households, the biggest segment of UK holidaymakers, have an overwhelming desire to explore destinations and discover new experiences. Holidays should broaden their minds, educate and revitalise them. When choosing a destination their drivers include discovering fascinating history or culture and revelling in experiences that are new and authentic.

Almost 80 per cent of millennials, who now make up most of the world's consumers, would rather spend money on experiences than physical goods. The ethical and adventurous Generation Z, raised on social media and the Internet, are even more inclined towards experiential purchasing decisions and they are set to become the largest consumer market by 2026.

There are many fantastic examples of authentic experiential destinations across Scotland. Here we share some of our favourites.

Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa is a five-star luxury hotel and spa situatedin Pitlochry, in the heart of the Highlands. It offers a unique holiday destination, blending the historic 19th century Scots Baronial mansion with contemporary spa facilities, set against the breathtaking backdrop of Ben Vrackie mountain and Loch Faskally. Activities and experiences provided by the hotel range from off-road driving courses in a Landrover or quad bike, to white water rafting and salmon fishing.

57 Nord, pictured top, is a boutique hideaway set between three ancient sea lochs on the west coast of Scotland, on the route to the Isle of Skye. With views over the Kintail Mountains, this luxurious yet cosy cabin blends modern Scandinavian and mid-century Scottish design to create a truly individual experience. Despite 57 Nord's secluded location, the surrounding area is also home to a number of famous whisky distilleries and Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as offering guests the chance to explore some of Scotland's most scenic landscapes.

The Fire Arms is a former 18th-century coaching inn and a Braemar landmark. Its current owners are passionate about creating exceptional, unforgettable memories and experiences, such as a helicopter ride over the Cairngorms, or dinner served in a remote hut on a Scottish grouse moor cooked by a private chef.

Dougarie Estate on the Isle of Arran invites guests to go out with its boatman to fish and pull up lobster pots, followed by a beach BBQ in the listed boathouse as the sun goes down. It also offers bespoke nature tours exploring the estate's habitat with the chance to take part in a photography workshop and to spot a golden eagle.

Benmore Estate is on the Isle of Mull which, with its dramatic landscapes and an ever-changing climate, has been described as a photographer's paradise. The estate has partnered with renowned photographer Colin Prior to offer tailored experiences, including boat rides to Iona, Staffa and the Fossil Tree on Burg, historic castles, mysterious stone circles, caves, and even whisky tasting before retiring to the luxurious Knock House.

Glasnock House on the Lochcarron Estateoffers fishing from the banks of the loch for native brown trout, endless miles of scenic countryside walks, high-quality home-cooked cuisine, holistic massage therapy, acupressure and yoga treatments. Bespoke art courses are also offered by internationally renowned tutors as well as by the owner's mother, Gillian Pattinson. At 83, Gillian is not only one of the Highlands' most acclaimed stalkers, but also a highly regarded artist in her own right.

Guardswell Farm is a secluded hillside haven in Perthshire. It offers escapees from the digital world the chance to switch off and learn about fresh produce and where it comes from, as well as to discover traditional methods of micro-farming, while taking a deep breath of Perthshire air.

Further information

Contact Steven Fyfe or Adam Davies

Contact Savills Tourism, Leisure & Events