Instead of going on road trips, forest escapes, beach vacations or taking tours to travel around the world and indulging in city breaks to soak up the atmosphere on the streets, people are now looking for new ways to take care of themselves. Wellness tourism is not a new trend, but amidst the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a collection of deeper, more accessible wellness experiences are emerging.
WHAT IS WELLNESS TOURISM?
Wellness tourism was a very popular trend before Covid-19, but that does not mean everyone understands the nature of this genre of tourism. Wellness tourism is a travel trend that is associated with the pursuit of promoting a healthy lifestyle, raising awareness in a holistic way and connecting with nature. Not only does a well-being retreat improve your holistic health, but it is also the opportunity for everyone to better understand and listen to their own bodies. Under the guidance of experts, through a combination of unique practices, healthy diets and an abundance of intensive wellness activities such as meditation, yoga, spa, hot springs and daily massage, travellers can take an immersive approach to reset their mental health, equilibrium and rediscover their core values that may have been forgotten.
The concept of wellness tourism dates back thousands of years, to a time when Greek pilgrims travelled to the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria, a sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios from the vast Mediterranean. Since then, Epidauria has been known as the world’s first wellness destination. At that time, people used hot springs as a type of medical and wellness practice, which helped patients to unwind and relax their bodies. This was also considered the first well-being practice. After a wellness vacation, you will find yourself distanced from any regular anxiety or stress and welcome a new, positive vitality for your mental and physical health to bounce back into the hectic routine of daily life.
MANY SWITCHED TO A GREENER LIFESTYLE DURING COVID-19
Before 2020, travelling was all about exploration, adventure and the desire to conquer new experiences. However, Covid-19 has changed the world in the blink of an eye. When normality resumes, we are well in need of a peaceful trip in a safe environment. Thus, wellness tourism can satisfy people’s thirst for adventure. It is said that during this period of social distancing, there has been a surge in demand for a wellness-centred lifestyle. Wellness retreats and travel not only help travellers to satisfy their wanderlust whilst they are dreaming of those ultimate bucket-list trips, but it also reshapes the way we live during the lockdown as it allows us to focus our energies differently and learn how to enjoy nature.
Previously, there was a common misconception that wellness tourism was only suitable for the elderly or those in need of treatment. However, wellness tourism attracts a wealth of young people who face a lot of pressures from their work. There are many different levels of a wellness retreat, which vary from premier to budget, making it accessible for a wide market of travellers. According to the Global Wellness Institute GWI, there are two types of wellness travellers: those whose trip or destination choice is primarily motivated by wellness and those who seek to maintain wellness whilst travelling whether for business or leisure.
A JOURNEY WITH MIRACULOUS BENEFITS
The art of wellness and the tourism industry connected to that is not necessarily something that comes naturally. Wellness and self-care are the trends of a new era that will encourage sustainable values for the future of the tourism industry. Experience a sense of newness that is extremely beneficial to your health through intensive relaxation therapies, sensible food supplements and healthy entertainment. Throughout the history of human evolution, humans have always had a strong bond with nature, but the hustle and bustle of the industrial pace of urban life have left us isolated from nature. Wellness tourism will allow people to return to the wilderness, truly immerse themselves in its pristine beauty, enjoy the peaceful ambiance and observe the surrounding environment in a very positive way. Through the art of wellness, you can spread happiness and provide great inspiration to many people.
Aside from offering a vast variety of physical and spiritual healing therapies, wellness tourism is also an opportunity for travellers to build and maintain a positive environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Each wellness trip not only gives us the opportunity to really engage with our surroundings and discover unique local cultures, but also show our respect for nature, protect plants and animals and take responsibility for local communities. In addition, the increased demand for wellness tourism has created a potential market that will support tour operators and local communities who can diversify services in order to offer visitors many different types of unique experiences and it will provide economic assistance to improve the living conditions for local people.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WELLNESS DESTINATION
Most travellers who opt for this type of tourism aim for one single purpose: switching to a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, a quiet location, calm and intimate spaces are always the main requirements. Currently, there are many luxury resorts and five-star hotels that make a huge effort to create a wellness-focused experience for their guests. With a beautiful setting in nature, a lot of accommodation providers have developed an integrated wellness system, built large and cutting-edge spa centres for guests to experience the best rejuvenating treatments.
In addition to dedicated healing experiences and curative therapies, a pristine and fresh natural environment is important. Especially, during the pandemic, plenty of us are looking for breaks in places devoid of crowds to freely explore nature, enjoy ultimate seclusion and a true escape from the daily grind. Many people also choose a wellness retreat to help themselves evaluate their precious values that are being overwhelmed by the hectic rhythm of the day-to-day. This experience can help guests gradually reduce their negative impact on the environment, encourage the use of public transport, support indigenous ecosystems, provide local food and inspire the preservation of distinct cultural traditions.
A GREAT SENSE OF TIMELESSNESS AND ENJOYMENT
After the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, wellness activities have become even more enriching and compelling. In the past, we were just looking for relaxation through spa treatments, meditation, yoga classes or hot springs, we now create new restorative experiences in the midst of nature. We can immerse ourselves in an incredible variety of exhilarating activities, for instance, forest bathing, trekking, forest biking, visiting local spiritual destinations, eating healthy food, growing our own fruit and vegetables and taking care of animals. With such an amazing incentive, your wellness vacation will be a truly memorable experience, leaving your soul and mind peacefully refreshed.
The world is in a perpetual state of change. In spite of isolation and confinement due to the current pandemic, our passion for venturing out and hope for a brighter future is stronger than ever. It is clear that wellness tourism will ﬂourish and diversify more and more so that as soon as the world returns to a state of normality, we will go in search of a peaceful location to kick back and reward ourselves through meaningful, inspiring lessons about nature, people and a healthy way of life.