Scottish tourism chiefs admit pursuing more visitors in 'an age of overtourism' is unsustainable
National tourism agency VisitScotland is expecting the visitors of the future to increasingly make decisions on destinations based on their “green credentials.”
It is warning that “pursuing more visitors in an age of “overtourism” is unsustainable, and signalling that the needs of visitors will need to be properly balanced with those of local residents and the environment in future.
Experts say the modern-day traveller will increasingly be looking for “smart ways” to reduce their own carbon footprint on holiday.
Rail travel is expected to be increasingly seen as “a fashionable and responsible tourism experience”, while younger travellers are likely to be looking to offset the impact of their trip by volunteering while they are away.
The research states: “Concern over natural resources, climate change and the natural environment has pushed its way to the forefront of many consumers’ minds.
“Individuals are increasingly aware of their personal impact of their behaviours. This is increasingly having profound effects on consumerism, travel, food and work. Sustainability should present balance between protecting the natural environment, economic growth and retaining vibrant social communities and cultural identities.”
VisitScotland is expected to cater for growing numbers of “lone wanderers,” to reflect the growth of single households and that fact younger generations are increasingly “delaying or eschewing co-habiting relationships to focus on careers, personal development and solo travel.”
Campaigns will be geared towards people “embracing single life in a positive affirmation of their individuality.”
The new research highlights a growing move towards “experiential tourism,” with growing numbers of visitors looking for a holiday that will have “meaning, challenge, connection and impact,” reflecting the growing trends for wellness and mindfulness breaks.
Chris Greenwood, senior insight manager at VisitScotland, said: “For tourism businesses in Scotland to remain competitive, it is important to be informed of the trends and drivers which will be influencing the behaviour of travellers now and in to the future.
“Visitors are continuing to seek an authentic experience but one which isn’t at the expense of the destination.
“This presents an exciting opportunity for Scottish tourism to develop a world-class experience that benefits both the visitor and the local community, whilst protecting the environment which attracts travellers in the first place.”