A tourism body hopes Scotland can ride the wave of the growing “water wellness” trend due to its many lochs, rivers, canals and coastlines.
Water wellness, also known as blue mind, is linked to the positive influence water can have on physical and mental health with a feeling of calm or peacefulness sparked when in or near water.
New YouGov research commissioned by VisitScotland suggests almost three-quarters of UK adults (73%) think being near water can reduce stress levels, while nearly two-thirds (65%) believe it can reduce anxiety and depression.
It also found the most popular activity that UK adults would like to do on a holiday in Scotland to help them relax and unwind would be walking along a deserted beach (63%), followed by a walk in woodland (59%).
The national tourism organisation now hopes the trend could provide a welcome boost to the industry in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Experiences and activities it will work to promote include wild swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding and waterside walks.
Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland senior insights manager, said: “Similar to forest bathing, water wellness is that connection to our natural resources and its impact on our physical and mental health.
“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the wellbeing of people all across the country and over the past year we’ve seen evidence of people embracing activities that help address this, such as the increasing popularity of wild swimming.
“With its remote lochs, breathtaking beaches and bustling waterways, Scotland is ideally placed to capitalise on the trend for water wellness and there is an exciting opportunity for businesses to benefit by promoting the experiences they can offer.
“Our research, inspired by the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, demonstrates a recognised appreciation of the positive influence water can have on our wellbeing.
“Tourism has been one of the biggest economic casualties of Covid-19, and as the industry looks to recover, we will continue sharing inspiration and insights as to what visitors are looking for now travel is possible again.
“Tourism and events will help to rebuild the Scottish population’s wellbeing – everyone deserves a holiday, and Scotland, and all it offers, will be the perfect antidote after lockdown.”