More travellers are opting for wellness vacations than ever before. Picture: Pexels.
More travellers are opting for wellness vacations than ever before. Picture: Pexels.

Where to get healthy this year

By Shivani Vora Time of article published Jan 28, 2018

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What aspect of the travel industry won’t wellness touch in 2018?

Perhaps none.

From hotels and cruises to airports, airlines, safaris and group tours, wellness promises to be everywhere in the world of travel. Five years ago wellness on the road meant heading to a destination spa to embark on a specific program such as weight loss or staying at a hotel with a nice gym; more recently, the concept has evolved to include all categories of travel, and encompasses overall physical and emotional health.

The data to support the rising interest in wellness travel abounds.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit organization for the wellness industry, travelers made 691 million trips with a wellness component, such as healthy eating or fitness, in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.

In addition, in 2016, the luxury travel network Virtuoso launched Virtuoso Wellness, a portfolio of 42 hotels and cruise line. Beth McGroarty, the research director for the Global Wellness Institute, said that the profusion of wellness programs in travel has redefined the purpose of a vacation.

“Vacations used to be associated with excess. You would have lavish meals, drink a lot and party,” she said. “In today’s high-stress world, however, people are desperate for rejuvenation and are prioritizing wellness when they have time off.”

Leisure travelers looking to partake in a little — or a lot of — self-care are spoiled for choice, particularly in the hotel space where many of the big brands are incorporating wellness into guest rooms.

Westin Hotels & Resorts has a growing roster of properties, including ones in Milan and Melbourne, Australia, that will feature WestinWorkout rooms, accommodations where guests have the choice of either an in-room treadmill or stationary bike.

In December, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills introduced 7 wellness rooms in partnership with the wellness real estate company Delos. The amenities include toiletries from the beauty brand Lather that are made with natural ingredients, air purification systems that reduce allergens and promote restful sleep, showers with dechlorinators and healthy in-room dining menus created in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic.

Cruises, are also embracing wellness, especially by offering health-focused voyages. The adventure cruise line Linblad Expeditions, in partnership with the exercise and spa brand Exhale, began a series of three- and four-day well-being trips in December around Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Guests on the journeys choose from activities like kayaking around the Baja coastline, snorkeling with sea lions and classes led by an Exhale instructor like power yoga and high intensity interval training.

Some travel companies are also offering more itineraries with wellness themes. Intrepid Travel will run 50 wellness-focused group trips this year, compared with 20 in 2017. One addition is the 12-day Golden Triangle: Yoga & Bollywood Edition in India that includes three days in the city of Rishikesh to practice yoga on the banks of the Ganges.

Airlines and airports are stepping up their efforts in numerous ways toward keeping travelers healthy.

Singapore Airlines recently introduced Deliciously Wholesome, in-flight meals that were designed with the help of a nutritionist and are rich in complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and fiber. Delta Air Lines offers guided meditation at its Asanda Spa Lounges in its Sky Clubs at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The luxury company Micato Safaris provides its clients with a yoga mat, free weights and a jump rope. Runs through the bush in Kenya with Maasai warriors can also be arranged. 

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