Predictably, in today’s high-octane world, wellness tourism is, claims Lonely Planet, the industry’s fastest growing sector with a 10% rise in 2017 making it over a $500bn market.
Within that, rising at around 20% annually and is currently worth $45 -$72bn, the specialist medical segment like surgery and dentistry is growing even faster as travellers venture overseas to cut costs and waiting times.
From the luxurious to the utilitarian, new combinations of travel destinations that focus on various ‘healthy’ experiences designed for both men and women are on the rise. Nowadays, ‘mindfulness’, seems to be replacing ‘wellness’ with everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Even British Airways has a ’Mindfulness of Travel’ programme, aimed at creating a tranquil Atlantic-long-haul flight (may be a contradiction in terms) with meditative videos. Etihad, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are among airlines boasting in-lounge spa services and Hyatt acquired wellness resort and spa group Miraval, whilst InterContinental Hotels Group has its EVEN Hotels brand.
Ultimately, the potential of wellness travel benefits more than one’s individual energy levels or waistline. It represents a move away from the paradigm of end-stage capitalism where material acquisition reigns supreme to a fresh way of living and spending. How? By investing in experiences instead of merely stuffing ourselves with ‘stuff.’ The way I look at it is this. I need another handbag like I need a hole in the head. Whereas, I can never get enough of travel, especially when it’s connected to returning home a little fresher and a little more aware.
“All things considered there are only two kinds of people in the world – those who stay at home and those who do not. The second are the more interesting.” – Rudyard Kipling