28 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Attractions Management
2018 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Rewilding

Editor’s letter


As our natural world increasingly comes under threat, we’re learning more about how being in nature underpins our wellbeing and this precious resource is becoming an important part of the attractions industry

Liz Terry, Leisure Media
People are increasingly interested in spending time in nature

Which areas of the attractions industry are going to grow fastest in the future? This is one of the questions we’re asked most frequently here at Attractions Management magazine. Everyone wants to know where the next opportunity lies. One strong trend we’re spotting at present is towards ‘rewilding’ – giving people time in nature to recharge and to reconnect with their wild side.

This trend is driven by a bigger movement towards health and wellbeing, which is permeating every market sector from food production to cosmetics, travel, manufacturing, transport and everything in between.

There’s now clear scientific evidence that time spent in nature is good for humans’ mental and physical health.

One example is Japanese healing modality Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which involves spending time in forests of all kinds, from bamboo to deciduous trees.

The results of over 100 adacemic studies show hormones secreted by the trees boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and stress, enhance mood and energy levels, improve sleep and increase happiness.

As scientists learn more about how being in greenspace and nature is beneficial, so the public’s appetite for these experiences grows and well-designed attractions which have an authentic base in nature thrive and grow as a result.

Rewilding takes many forms. In this issue, we hear about an initiative by Merlin Entertainments to move two beluga whales to a wild Arctic inlet in Iceland, where they will live out their days in safety, but in a natural environment.

Merlin inherited the whales as part of a theme park buyout and its policy of not keeping cetaceans in captivity raised issues, as they could not be released into the wild.

The company will build an attraction on-site, so visitors can learn more about the creatures and the rewilding process.

In another wonderful example, the success of the extraordinary Atlanta Botanical Garden is celebrated on page 66 in our interview with CEO Mary Pat Matheson.

Gardens, arboretums and forest parks have traditionally been very low-key parts of the attractions industry, but we envison them blossoming and growing in importance as rewilding becomes a major trend for the sector.

Originally published in Attractions Management 2018 issue 3

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