WELLNESS TOURISM INITIATIVE
TREND 1: Governments are Waking up to Wellness
Destination-led wellness development is everywhere. We are seeing the continued growth of dedicated destination-led wellness experiences for both travelers and the local community to match ongoing strong consumer demand. This also includes a renewed focus on urban wellness to drive visitors and workers back to cities after a prolonged COVID absence as well as regional areas celebrating and developing new wellness offerings in keeping with their core strengths. From Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica to cities like Singapore as well as lesser-known wellness locations such as Lancashire in the UK and the Adelaide Hills in Australia, wellness tourism destination development is thriving.
TREND 2: Fill your Cup and that of the Local Community you Visit
Regenerative travel and doing good and influencing positive change through wellness tourism is being embraced broadly by all generational travelers including millennials, Gen Z and baby boomers. We are all placing more of an emphasis on conscious travel that genuinely makes an impact on the destination and how it is supported. In the luxury space, ENVI Lodges and Habitas are examples of new hospitality brands that are at the forefront of responsible travel trend.
TREND 3: Mental Health Acceptance is the New Norm
As the world has been experiencing a collective trauma with COVID’s ongoing implications in our health, work and family lives, the drive to create greater awareness and acceptance of mental health and its nuances has meant more focused programs to support this growing need. “Soft” intervention programs like meditation, breathwork, and holistic practice continue to grow. Euphoria Retreat in Greece is one of many now offering emotional and physical transformation retreats. Countries like Switzerland serve as a model for developing affordable mental health care.
TREND 4: Micro Dosing with Plant Medicine
The rise of natural plant medicine-based wellness programs continues including using ayahuasca, psychedelics, and CBD to help support wellbeing. Psychedelic retreats made their debut with the TV series “Nine Perfect Strangers” recognizing the mental health benefits of hallucinogenic plant medicine. We are experiencing a cultural shift in awareness of hallucinogens, and psychedelic retreats are a growing form of wellness travel in countries where access to mind-altering drugs is legal. Various getaways in 2022 include locations such as US, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
TREND 5: Family Friendly Wellness
Prioritizing your family units’ wellbeing through tailored travel experiences is taking off. In various destinations globally, parents and their children are escaping the confines of COVID-affected urban areas for camping trips in nature where digital technology is left at home making this an affordable and accessible wellness travel trend. For those higher end holidays, operators such as Chiva-Som’s newest offering, Zular wellness resort in Qatar, features Zular Discovery Junior retreats which teach kids sustainable and healthy lifestyle values and activities with four separate programs tailored by age. Zular also offers special parent and grandparents wellness options. At Sonnwies in the Dolomites, they take family wellness to the next level, with their dedicated Aquapark in the Alps featuring a biosauna complete with children’s cinema, 4 new baby wellness pools, and a naturalists kids club for outdoor adventures.
TREND 6: Green Prescription Holidays
Doctors have a long tradition of prescribing thermal holiday experiences across Europe with this now expanding more broadly to green nature-based experiences. The green prescription term was first used in New Zealand with its neighbor Australia now catching on with a recently completed clinical trial in partnership with the Appleton Institute delivering very encouraging results. This trend is also gaining strong momentum and support in the US and the United Kingdom.
TREND 7: Wear your wellness
The trend of wearable digital technology for wellbeing continues with innovative new offerings popping up to support travelers’ pre-departure, during their trips and as a means of bridging the return to “normal” routines thereafter. While fitness-related and mindfulness apps are the mainstay in this category, innovations include the recently launched Timeshifter app, focused on beating jet lag and tested on NASA astronauts, as well as wearable apps now measuring blood oxygen levels, stress levels and mood levels.
TREND 8: Vegan Holiday Anyone?
Food-based holidays have taken the leap one step further in the wellness space with companies like The Getaway Co. dedicated to delivering inspiring plant-based holiday experiences in Greece, Italy, Indonesia, and Portugal. Vegan lifestyle experts, given an audience and platform by their social media accounts, are innovating to curate novel, plant-based wellness experiences.
TREND 9: Digital Nomad Boom
The work-from-anywhere concept continues to pick up momentum, supported by countries like Bali, Mexico and Costa Rica who are building their reputations, marketing, and infrastructure around it. The modern digital nomad wants to embrace their wellbeing while they work and travel; companies such as Selina are now dedicated to curating these sorts of work and travel experiences across the globe. Governments are also tapping into the opportunity with places such as the Bahamas, Portugal, Spain, Maldives, and Mauritius offering long stay visas to encourage people to travel and work easily.
TREND 1: Country Led Wellness Development
Countries around the globe are adopting wellness-driven initiatives and injecting funds into concepts dedicated to the wellness traveler and locals. This is also attracting wellness investment in these countries.
TREND 2: Regenerative Travel
Purposeful wellness experiences that not only fill your own cup but also fill up the cup of the community and the environment you visit. Doing good and influencing positive change through wellness travel.
TREND 3: Rehab to Restoration Programs
With the increased priority on mental health, we see more specific facilities and programs being created to support stress, burnout, anxiety, trauma and depression for travelers.
TREND 4: Insurance and Businesses Support Wellness
Insurance companies and employers are prioritizing allocations to wellness programs. This means more people have dedicated funds and the opportunity to attend wellness-related experiences and programs.
TREND 5: Wellness Snacking
With increasing value placed on work/life balance and more remote working opportunities, the rise of regular, smaller bite-sized wellness travel experiences is growing.
TREND 6: Natural Plant Medicine Programs
There is a rise in natural plant medicine wellness programs being offered using ayahuasca, psychedelics and CBD to help support mental and emotional trauma.
TREND 7: Fertility Retreats
As women continue to seek support with their fertility journey, wellness retreats and centers are increasingly catering to this need.
TREND 8: Wellness Practitioner Training Moves Online
Wellness education and training embraces online learning rather than having to travel for training. This helps to support and grow wellness practitioner’s capacity worldwide.
TREND 9: New Wellness Lifestyle Programs
Off-grid and permaculture programs for dedicated travelers who want to learn more about how to build this into their lifestyle. This includes programs deemed “extreme” wellness, such as cold water therapy treatments.
TREND 10: Medical Welcomes Wellness
Integration of the two worlds, hospitals incorporating wellness into their programs and wellness retreats with more structured medical supports.
TREND 11: Embracing Indigenous Wellness Traditions
The growth of culture-driven wellness experiences emphasizing Eastern philosophies and other ancient traditions, including Ayurveda, TCM, Daoist traditions, etc.
TREND 12: Outdoor Physical Fitness boom
While a desire for nature immersion continues for locals and travelers across the world, demand for biking, running, walking and nature tours/camps continues.
TREND 13: Animals Support Wellness Travel
Pet ownership during COVID-19 has skyrocketed, with animals supporting people’s wellbeing. Incorporating animals into wellness therapies and retreats (e.g., equine therapy and goat yoga) continues to expand.