Money

Meet the travel entrepreneur keeping 'slow travel' Scotland in people's minds



The concept of slow travel might seem ironic at a time when no one is going anywhere fast.

But for travel tech entrepreneur Jack Cairney, it’s a holiday philosophy we should all adopt once the chaos of Covid-19 has subsided.

Instead of ticking off to-do lists and furiously snapping photos we’ll never look at again, we should take our time to absorb sights, sounds and culture.

“Slow travel is a way of exploring a new place that not only enables you to absorb your surroundings and immerse yourself in the culture, but also enhances your connection with the people who live and work there,” he says.

“Slow travel enhances your connection to the here-and-now and everything that makes a location unique: its people, food, culture, music and trade.

Stonehaven – I was born and raised there and it’s home to the medieval Dunnottar Castle, so I have to put that in the five.

The Cairngorms – There is so much variety there and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite destinations.

The North-West Highlands – Another spectacular area, it boasts some of the most dramatic scenery I’ve experienced in Scotland.

Ardnamurchan – A lesser known area, It’s remote, unique, unspoilt and isolated with so much natural beauty to offer.

Islay – Last but not least. There are nine working distilleries on Islay, making it the perfect pilgrimage for whisky lovers like myself.

“It can take us out of our comfort zones, teach us how to deal with new people and environments, and challenge us to get off our phones and actively seek out new experiences.”

READ  Disney report to shine spotlight on streaming war

Coronavirus has scuppered any chance we had of putting those ideas into practice this Easter, and possibly well into the summer. But through his Aberdeen-based business Hidden Scotland, Cairney is doing his bit to ensure Scotland’s beautiful sights are neither out of sight or mind.

His daily Instagram posts with their beautiful photos showcase destinations all over the country and have earned Hidden Scotland a nomination for Best Instagram Presence in the international Shorty Awards for social media. No small achievement given the other finalists include GoPro and music website Pitchfork.

Cairney started Hidden Scotland as a sideline to Befound, his online marketing app for SMEs. But its growth was explosive and four years later he runs it full-time with his partner Karla, who has a background in graphic design and branding.

The couple create bespoke promotional campaigns for holiday accommodation owners and feature them on their website to generate bookings.

Cairney says: “We also love conceptualising ideas and creating content for brands who share our love for Scotland. We choose to work with brands that share our values and ones that we know our community will benefit from.”

Ironically, by encouraging people to embrace ‘slow travel’ Hidden Scotland is making effective use of social media to help people to escape their hectic, always switched on, tech-driven lives, temporarily at least.

“More than ever in today’s hectic-paced, social media-driven world we are left feeling more pressure than ever before,” says Cairney.

“We crave the time out to switch off and relax, spending our time doing things that will benefit our well-being.”

READ  UK car production slumps 15% as industry makes plea to avert no-deal Brexit

Being cooped up during coronavirus will give people an appetite for travel when restrictions are lifted, believes Cairney. And if it takes longer for international flight schedules to return to normal, all the better for the businesses in rural Scotland that have been especially hard hit by the shutdown.

“There is no doubt the travel industry has been hit hard but we also believe recent events will give rise to the staycation movement,” says Cairney.

“The Scottish public will still want to go on holiday after this passes, but will want to take their family somewhere safe, so I believe many will turn to staying closer to home and discovering what Scotland has to offer them. That’s why we’re predicting the rise in staycations.”

In the midst of a stressful situation, Hidden Scotland’s content has been curated to create a sense of calm.

Cairney says: “We believe if you are stuck at home, you can still feel like you’re taking a journey to Scotland and have adapted our content over the recent weeks to help you do that from the comfort of your couch.

“We have created a series of Instagram posts that encourage our community to take a moment in their day to stop, be present and enjoy the calming sounds of some of Scotland’s most memorable places.”



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply