The current status spotlight;
January has kicked off with a rampant spotlight on wellness trends. The sheer number of focus articles and reports is indicative of just how important personal well-being has become, not only to us personally but also to business and the economy.
These reports are packed with ‘life changing’ recommendations, a plethora of fresh perspectives and a health focused lens to get us all to our best selves. Some of the most comprehensive and motivating trends for both business and personal growth are;
Perhaps the most inspirational news is that ‘being well’ and the desire for enhanced health and fitness levels is a much more socially inclusive pursuit than it has ever been.
Two great examples are:
1) the impact of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, this movement is reported to be reaching 2.8 million women in the UK – “a national campaign that celebrates active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.”
2) The Park Runs initiative that have successfully become an inclusive staple in the UK’s exercise regime up and down the country “From beginners to Olympians, park run is for everyone.”
Why is this important under a wellness travel lens?
It’s all about ‘lifestyle shift’. A focus on better health is as valuable to governments as it is to the growing band of purposeful self-help warriors determined to transform their lives. It’s vital to businesses too. In addition, the glut of media coverage and the overwhelming evidence that supports the advantages of wellness in the workplace is slowly but surely becoming recognised as a necessary element of successful company growth rather than a nice to have.
These advances towards ‘better health’ (and many more that are not mentioned), point to a paradigm shift in consciousness and an increasingly purposeful culture around personal well-being that stretches far beyond nutrition and movement. The embrace of spiritual connection, personal development, altruism and a positive mental attitude all contribute to a higher energy vibration and an increasing need for natural and wellness anchored environments. This creates an enormous domino effect on the intention and desired experiences around travel.
Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones reports from years of global research that those who live with purpose, live 9 years longer than their aimless counterparts and largely, medication free. In the same way that no-one would do yoga and then have a fried breakfast, lifestyle change means that populations are moving towards more meaningful decisions in all aspects of their lives, cue the explosive growth in wellness travel and the glut in both domestic and international demand for wellness anchored trips. Companies like Wellbeing Escapes grew 40% in 2014.
The value of the wellness tourism economy was last quantified in October 2014 by the Global Wellness Institute at $494 billion – estimated (conservatively) to reach in excess of $650billion by 2017. The reality of wellness tourism growth is that it is fundamentally fuelled by the many and varied wellness trends that are shaping the decision making of both current and future travelers. Any country or destination who doesn’t begin to recognise, let alone tap into, this valuable tourist (wellness travelers spend more than any other tourist) will be doing their countries and their businesses, a serious disservice!