At long last, a post-Covid existence is slowly coming into focus for everything from daily routines to major public events. One area where normalcy will be especially welcome is travel.
Before the pandemic, wellness travel was a growing niche. Health-enhancing journeys included very “interactive” features such as massages, spa treatments, fitness classes, health-related lectures or even a smoothie after yoga class. One of the leading observers of the healthy-travel market thinks that rather than stifling this trend, Covid will help fuel its growth.
According to Anne Dimon, Owner/Editor of Travel to Wellness and President/CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, “the concept of personal health through proactive self-care has become, and will continue to be, a new priority in our lives.” As a result, she is pretty optimistic this may be the time for hospitality brands and destination management organizations to consider entering the wellness space.
Industry research tells us that those who live their lives with health as a core value are the main drivers behind the unprecedented growth of the wellness tourism industry over the last decade. And the pandemic has made even more people health conscious.
“People who might not even consider themselves to be part of the ‘wellness travel’ surge will become so based simply on the fact that they will be making their personal health and well-being a top priority at home and, subsequently, taking those newly formed habits and practices with them when they travel,” Dimon says.
“Simple new lifestyle habits and practices such as making healthy food choices, getting a better night’s sleep, making time for fitness activities, taking time to enjoy the multi-benefits of being out in nature, and making a concerted effort to nurture one’s mental health will be even more in demand,” she adds.
Admittedly, some want to make their personal health a priority but don’t know where to begin. Dimon says these people will seek out hotels and resorts with designated programs and multi-day retreats operated by trusted health and medical practitioners and other wellness professionals who can guide them along the path to reaching their health goals.
What does that mean for the industry? Beyond the hygiene protocols that will be of uppermost importance to consumers, there will be greater demand for the basic amenities, attributes, activities, and programs that will help them maintain their health-focused lifestyles or assist in launching them on the path to becoming a healthier human being with a stronger and more resilient immune system.
Which properties will benefit? Dimon and other industry insiders are leaning toward slightly more remote locations, away from congested areas, easily accessible by car or short non-stop flights and, ideally, surrounded by nature. Easy access to nature typically tops the list of “must haves” with wellness-minded travelers.
Where shall we go first?