According to a recent presentation given by the Global Wellness Institute, there’s a macro shift from experiential to transformative wellness travel, with travelers seeking more emotional, life-changing wellness journeys rather than a series of treatments and classes.
“The buzzword in travel today is ‘transformative,’ and while it can never be precisely defined and often gets misused, for the wellness travel sector it’s the very brand and promise,” said Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO, Global Wellness Institute. “Wellness travelers increasingly demand true brain, body and soul shake-ups — intense personal growth rather than just pampering — and destinations are creatively heeding the call.”
The organization noted seven major trends in wellness travel due to this shift. Destinations are creating immersive, story-based, epic wellness journeys, such as a multi-property, multi-stage itinerary based on a promised spiritual transformation.
More performance, music and art is incorporated into wellness, for example, with resorts offering calligraphy classes in addition to spa treatments, or even performances to enjoy from the comfort of a hot springs.
Hyper-personalized wellness based on DNA is on the rise, using deep-view testing to recommend health, diet, fitness and skincare regimens, as are “brain hacks,” a focus on optimizing one’s brain power for better health.
Transformative travel also takes fitness to a more extreme level, with mind-over-matter challenges (extreme ice/cold experiences are popular).
Happiness travel is a part of the transformational trend, particularly at resorts that focus on social connections and tech disconnections.
Lastly, there is a new focus on all-women wellness travel, for a part-female empowerment, part-wellness focus.
The Global Wellness Institute also touched on the growing wellness tourism industry in the MENA region, as more lifestyle travelers flock to the region and its ultra-luxury properties. Wellness resorts and hot springs resorts are popping up from Qatar to Morocco, Algeria to Dubai.
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