Global Wellness Summit 2020: Four Travel Trends
As expressed at the 2020 Global Wellness Summit (November 8-11), the pandemic has broadened the scope of wellness – including to travel. Event speakers predicted that next-gen wellness holidays will implement ultra-sustainable models.
- Regenerative Is the Future: Speakers agreed that as travel resumes post-pandemic, the industry will need to put destinations’ economic, environmental and cultural health first.
“Regenerative [travel] is about looking at the whole history of the land,” explained Amanda Ho, co-founder of Hong Kong travel company Regenerative Travel. “Too often, wellness resorts have a prescriptive programme that’s not really connecting the traveller back to the earth. That’s really where we see the potential for having a transformative shift via a wellness programme.”
Ho cited Mexican resort Playa Viva as an example. Each guest receives a holistic health coach who designs their personalised wellbeing programme – complete with yoga routines, tours of the property’s turtle sanctuary, and organic farm-to-table meals.
- Sustainable Destination Management: Anna Pollock, founder of UK sustainable travel group Conscious Travel, argued that the tourism industry must rethink its role in the global economy to fight climate catastrophe. “We’ve persuaded developing countries that tourism was the panacea,” said Pollock. “It was really the quick fix.”
To build long-term success, she urged the industry to track environmental and social impact, alongside visitor numbers and spend. This means building travel campaigns that highlight a destination’s key attractions and values. She encouraged professionals to start by asking: “What is the purpose of this destination? How does it really work?”
- Niche Wellness Holidays: “Wellness travel has been big for a while, but it’s been a bit undefined,” said Elaine Glusac, travel columnist for The New York Times. She predicted that health-conscious travellers would self-divide into interest-based segments, reinforcing the importance of mass-niche cohorts. Immediate groups to watch include ‘sustainable adventurers’, ‘nature lovers’, ‘slow travellers’ and ‘pandemic pod tours’ – see Soft Tourism and Top-Tier Travel for more.
- Sleep Situation: Sleep is an overlooked segment of the hotel guest experience, said panellists. To address this gap, Tammy Pahel, vice-president of spa & wellness operations at Miami’s Carillon Hotel, shared how the property has invested in smart beds that track guests’ quality of sleep. By measuring the number of tosses and turns, the hotel will gather data to optimise room design for quality rest.
For more, see Top Five Wellness Travel Trends 2021.