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How Mod-stalgia is bringing a boost to Scots tourist sites

THE nostalgic lure of bucket-and-spade beach holidays is proving too strong to resist for some Scots.

SANDS OF TIME: Enjoying family days out on the beach at resorts like Ayr remain popular as this picture from last summer shows. Picture: Nick Ponty
SANDS OF TIME: Enjoying family days out on the beach at resorts like Ayr remain popular as this picture from last summer shows. Picture: Nick Ponty

As a result, many are revisiting the summer vacations of their childhood, but with one difference - they're staying in luxury accommodation rather than in the B&B, caravan or family hotels of old.

The new trend has, of course, has a new label: Mod-stalgia.

It's one of several new or ­developing tendencies identified in Trends for 2014, by VisitScotland's Insight department.

Many Scots still have fond memories of summer holidays in coastal resorts such as Ayr, Largs or Fife, and of building sand-castles on the beach with their grandparents, as they tried in vain to keep the sand out of their ice-cream cones.

The survey suggests that while nostalgia is not what it used to be, it could still be a valuable tool for Scottish tourism businesses.

"An example," it says, "could be revisiting an old destination from your childhood, and embracing the modern accommodation options and contemporary attractions that now enhance the experience.

"Providers," it adds, "may also find it beneficial to utilise nostalgia to attract customers to their service, such as hosting themed events."

VisitScotland says Mod-stalgia is one of the new trends that could be on the rise this year.

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the 400-plus events scheduled into the Homecoming programme make this a momentous year for Scottish tourism.

In any event, the taste for staycations "looks set to continue in the face of austerity", the survey adds.

Indeed, the second quarter of 2013 had the highest share of domestic trips against overseas holidays over the last six years, at 68.5% of trips.

Another new trend is One Foot in the Past which revolves around folklore and history: interest in these will be more focused than ever, with 2014 marking both the centenary of the First World War and the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Under the heading Modern Clans, the survey says the family unit can no longer be viewed as mum, dad and 2.4 children. Multigenerational groups - grandparents, parents and children - now share holidays.

The global economic picture has also meant empty nest parents have been taking their adult children (typically in their 20s and 30s) on holiday - and paying for the privilege - because the latter cannot afford to go on trips on their own.

Furthermore, recent changes in legislation may also attract more gay visitors to Scotland, for weddings.

Pets, meanwhile, are increasingly seen as key, members of the family unit - a factor that accommodation providers ought to be aware of.

"The rise in the cost of living has led many to delay having children, and moving towards having pets as the new family member," the report says.

One well-developed trend - Soul Recharge (Boot camp for the soul) - relates to the fast-growing market for wellness tourism: vacations that include fitness or well-being activities.

According to one projection, wellness tourism could grow at 9% annually over the next five years, putting it on course to eclipse overall global tourism twice over by 2017.

Matthew Quinn, of VisitScotland's Insight department, said: "The tourism and hospitality sectors are increasingly sensitive to consumer trends and economic conditions, so having an informed outlook is vital. By analysing and identifying trends, we are able to offer valuable advice to Scotland's tourism industry, ensuring they are in the best possible position to welcome the world this year and beyond."

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