Going away to get well – Financial Review

Travel trend: going away to get well

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Forget fame and fortune; it is well-being that tops to-do lists for global travellers. 

Regular travel can be the enemy of wellness. Jet lag, indulgent food, too much alcohol and scant exercise are just some of the challenges faced by those who value fitness and health.

However, a global movement towards “healthy hotels” means that frequent flyers are able to stay in peak condition on the road. According to Spafinder Wellness, the world’s largest media, marketing and gifting company for the wellness industry, the healthy hotel will eventually become more inspired and comprehensive and move from the exception to the rule.

It says “healthy hotels” fall within the category of wellness tourism, which sits at the intersection of the global $US2 trillion ($2.4 trillion) wellness and $US6.6 trillion travel and tourism economies.

And don’t think we’re talking about health retreats or spas. It’s “secondary-purpose” travellers – those for whom wellness-related activities are part of the trip not the reason for it – who are driving the wellness travel market, according to a research report conducted by SRI International for the Global Spa & Wellness Summit.

Forget fame and fortune; it is well-being that tops to-do lists for global travellers, according to a survey conducted by Westin Hotels & Resorts, which has more than 190 properties in nearly 40 countries and territories.

Maintaining a balanced sense of well-being was seen as a status symbol by 62 per cent of respondents, outranking professional accomplishment (47 per cent). “Global citizens are ultra-aware of their state of well-being and interested in what they can do to maintain it and improve their health and balance – even when faced with accelerated stress,” says Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts.

Sleep, eats and treats

At Westin, “Heavenly Beds (a plush, pillow-top construction), SuperFoodsRx dishes, WestinWORKOUTs and Heavenly Spa treatments” are designed to “leave you feeling better than when you arrived”.

It’s all part of a $15 million brand-wide campaign and includes such initiatives as Westin Gear Lending that offers guests a loan of New Balance workout wear and, from next year, The Juicery, which will feature energising juices and smoothies.

In Australia, a yoga tool kit has also been developed for Westin by Charlotte Dodson, whose A-list clientele which has included Orlando Bloom, Phoebe Tonkin and Stephanie Rice.

According to Andrew Gibson, vice-president, Spa and Wellness, FRHI Hotels & Resorts: “The wellness movement is starting to reach a critical mass of awareness which will mean that hotel brands have to embrace the full concept.”

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