Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2013

22 January 13

| Green Travel News |

Healthier air travel and hotels lead the year’s travel trends spotted by Wellness Tourism Worldwise, an international organization focused on well-being and travel. The forecast is based on an analysis of consumer and B2B surveys, onsite and other research, plus feedback from travel suppliers, destinations and sellers.

The top 10 trends:

1.

Healthy life sign

photo: Spence Smith

Wellness takes flight: airport renovations featuring natural light, art installations, as well as health and fitness offerings such as spas, swimming pools, gardens, golf ranges, walking paths and private napping cabins. Airlines are offering better designs and healthy options (e.g., Qatar Airlines has partnered with The Chopra Center and Deepak Chopra to create  “Fly Healthy Fly Fit,” travel tips based on massage, seated yoga and meditation).

2.

Health-focused hotels: hotels have realized that gyms, pools and spas are not enough and are adding new designs and health amenities (e.g., The MGM Grand in Las Vegas has 42 Stay Well rooms and suites designed to eliminate germs and water-borne chemicals, offer protection from electro-magnetic fields and wake guests up with a dawn stimulation feature).

3.

Digital detox: at last, a break from mobile devices to clear the mind and rest the body. The travel industry now offers digital-detox vacation packages (e.g., Viia Yoga  offers a discount for anyone willing to give up their iPhone during their yoga retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica).

4.

Reconnecting through Nature: destinations are beginning to more fully leverage their landscapes in response to the human need to escape to the outdoors (e.g.,  the growing trend of “deprivation holidays” during which stressed-out vacationers opt for outdoor boot camps to improve fitness and lose weight rather than vegging on the beach).

5.

Sleep at the forefront: with spas, hotels, airplanes and airports, sleep has gone from the ignored to the significant (e.g., Yelo Spa in New York City offers 15-minute micro-naps on special massage beds or zero-gravity chairs, and “Napcabs”—private sleeping quarters—are available for intercontinental travelers at Munich Airport).

6.

Spiritual seekers: interest in non-religious spiritual practices continues to grow around the world, in the form of spiritual pilgrimages, retreats and workshops (e.g., Esalen in Big Sur, Calif., previously known for its counterculture, now enjoys mainstream success after a $5 million renovation and is hipper than ever).

7.

Indigenous healing experiences: giving travelers the opportunity to experience a region’s traditional healing practices firsthand, at their place of origin. Those seeking health and healing traditions contribute to cultural conservation and sustainability, often stimulating economic growth and breathing new life into neglected or
undervalued rituals (Turkish hamams and thermal baths are examples of revered traditions that are becoming revived).

8.

Rewarding with wellness travel: a plethora of  travel suppliers are getting on the corporate wellness travel bandwagon. Nutrition education, fitness activities and life-balance coaching are offered at executive retreats and corporate meetings (e.g., The Biggest Loser Resorts in the U.S. cater to companies searching for ways to reduce weight-related health-care costs through weight-loss packages and team-building retreats).

9.

Celebrity instructor retreats: yoga, pilates, meditation and fitness gurus have been elevated to the status of rock stars and are taking their expertise on the road (e.g., fitness guru Kristin McGee, with clients like Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller, has led fitness retreats in Sicily, Cartagena, Marrakech and St. Petersburg).

10.

Intergenerational family vacations: an aging world population, lifestyle changes and a tight economy are spurring this trend. Grandparents are connecting with grandchildren in a distinct way—by traveling together (e.g., Road Scholar offers 300+ intergenerational trips this year, ranging from safaris in the Yucatan to surf lessons in San Diego to cultural journeys in Philadelphia).

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