By Tatiana Rokou
With 2021 set to be the year when travellers push for a return to normality and with more people choosing longer, even season-length health and fitness escapes, the pandemic has changed how we travel.
The habits of travellers have changed, more people are favouring a wellness staycation, there are new demands for immunity boosting retreats, socially distanced wellness trips, private jet wellness journeys and working remotely on holiday; personal health and fitness are now top priority for travel. Embracing the future of wellness travel, Health and Fitness Travel, the wellness holiday specialists is forecasting the biggest wellness travel trends.
Healthy Hibernation Holidays
The winter months are going to see a boom in people taking long stay healthy hibernation holidays to enjoy a double dose of summer. Destinations with lower Covid-19 risk and Covid-safe certified wellness resorts are going to be the most popular. St Lucia, Mauritius, Vietnam, Maldives, and Thailand provide safer environments for long winter stay wellness escapes. Healthy hibernation holidays provide attractive benefits that will entice people despite the uncertainty of travel restrictions. Season length holidays are a chance to escape, to improve one’s immunity in a healthier climate and have some much-needed fun after spending a year in isolation. Instead of becoming unattractive, the prospect of seasonal migration is being made more enticing by travel restrictions.
Top Wellness Destinations: St Lucia, Thailand, Mauritius
Staycation Wellness Boom
2021 is going to see an unprecedented rise in the number of travellers looking for domestic wellness breaks. Due to a continued hampering of consumer confidence in foreign travel, people are searching for holidays to improve their health and fitness without always having to go overseas. With a 22% increase already on bookings for the same point last year – whether it’s a healthy break to de-stress or an active holiday to boost physical well-being in the scenic beauty of the British countryside; wellness staycations are proving to be the perfect opportunity to kickstart, or maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost our immunity, all from the comfort of our own country.
Top Wellness Destinations: Grantley Hall, Gleneagles, Glass House Retreat
Immunity Booster Retreats
Our immunity is more important than ever. Until a vaccine is available, our immune systems will need to adapt unaided to Covid-19. We all want a long and healthy life, to be free of disease and to limit health conditions. As a relaxing and reliable solution to the prominent health concerns of today, holidays designed to boost the immune system are becoming increasingly popular. Immune boosting retreats are offered in many locations for a secluded, social distancing friendly getaway to focus on personal well-being. Weight loss programmes, fitness classes, specialised treatments and sunnier climates are all married together to aid your body’s natural defences as a break from the winter weather. Those who prioritise personal wellbeing and still wish to travel are choosing immunity boosting holidays as a way of healing, physically and emotionally, with the help of doctors, nutritionists, and health practitioners.
Top Wellness Destinations: Euphoria Retreat, Kamalaya, Galo Retreat
Working Remotely on Holiday to Stay Healthy
With the rise of remote work and the ongoing restrictions of Covid-19, many are leaving their home offices for the chance of working from a picturesque wellness holiday destination. Technology has facilitated many workers to perform their job effectively from anywhere there is phone signal and a strong Wi-Fi connection. Instead of working remotely from home, we are starting to discover that leaving the winter behind and working from holiday has remarkable benefits. Productivity is not hampered we become more efficient; many destinations like St Lucia and Madeira are far safer havens for the pandemic than the UK and other countries. Clients can also facilitate their work schedule around their health and fitness programme on holiday so they can attend morning and evening activities and spa treatments scheduled around their working day with greater flexibility over the weekends.
Top Wellness Destinations: BodyHoliday, Kamalaya, The Retreat Costa Rica
Self-Care Now an Essential Part of Travel
What was a necessity during lockdown is now becoming a driving factor in holiday planning. The threat of serious illness was a powerful motivator for many to focus on their own health and fitness. Many had to learn the art of self-care during lockdown, whether that’s healthy eating or regular exercise, and now have a desire to turn that wellness project into a lifestyle. Wellness retreats are rare opportunities for devotion to personal care through yoga, guided meditation, spa therapies and other wellness treatments and activities. This type of self-care travel can be tailored for any location and made bespoke for any group. Healthy holidays with intent purpose of fostering personal betterment are going to grow in relevancy through 2021, and long into the next decade. After all, it is unlikely that being unhealthy is going to become popular any time soon.
Top Wellness Destinations: Training Paradise, Conrad Algarve, Longevity Health & Wellness Resort.
Social Distance Wellness Trips to Far Flung Destinations
A greater number of holiday makers are choosing socially distance wellness trips to destinations further afield than previous years. The greater the health risk of travel and the greater the effort, means people are more inclined to book one big holiday. Instead of choosing European city breaks, holiday goers are favouring longer healthy getaways that are further away but less risky and more secluded. Social distance holidays are popular with families, couples and solo travellers, as they provide quiet time away to strengthen relationships and focus on personal well-being. Social distance is well accommodated by many luxury hotels, providing they are in low risk Covid-19 spots; Mauritius, the Maldives, St Lucia, island nations with low populations and plenty of space. Private villa resorts at these locations provide healthy retreats that are ideal for two weeks or more of self-isolating in a beautiful, remote location.
Top Wellness Destinations: Shanti Maurice, Ananda in the Himalayas, REVIVO
Mindful and Sustainable Travel
2021 will see a huge rise in the relevance that sustainability takes in the travel plans of consumers as they become more mindful than ever. The visible easing of CO2 emissions during lockdown, once again, reignited discussions on the pollution caused by worldwide tourism. Consumers saw the dramatic effect emissions were having on the planet and resolved to be more mindful about the environmental impact of their actions. Staycations or holidays at resorts with a greater commitment to eco-friendly practices are going to be more popular. Wellness resorts in Bali and Thailand are embracing a holistic approach to holidaying that reduces the environmental effects of a guest’s stay. Likewise, consumers are now more inclined to fly less frequently, preferring one long-haul holiday a year rather than multiple short hauls.
Top Wellness Destinations: Komune Bali, Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti, SwaSwara.
Multi-Generational Active Trips
Multi-generational active trips will be more common in 2021 as people look to continue the time they have shared with their immediate family in lockdown. These holidays will be motivated by those eager to reconnect with the extended family members who they have been separated from. One of the silver linings of lockdown was the chance to spend more time with the immediate family, sharing healthy activities like cycling, walking, and running. Many will be looking to continue this healthy streak with more extended family on a multi-generational active trip. After months apart, summer 2021 is going to be the season for family reconnection as all generations rub shoulders on a healthy and active family holiday together.
Top Wellness Destinations: Pine Cliffs, Forte Village, REVIVO Family Retreat
Stress and Anxiety Reduction for Tailor-made Holidays
Tailor-made holidays for relaxation and recovery are becoming a necessity to ease the mental effects of months spent in lockdown. 2020 has been detrimental for our collective mental state, the equivalent of 19 million adults* in the UK reported high levels of anxiety and stress over lockdown. 2021 will be an opportunity to release the pent-up anxiety of isolation with wellness holidays and stress management retreats. Tailored to the requirements of the individual, they offer an immersive experience of private fitness training, health screenings and luxury healing spa treatments with an educational programme. Holidays have always been an effective way of coping with pressure but in 2021, they are going to be the means of coping with post lockdown induced stress.
Top Wellness Destinations: Absolute Sanctuary, SHA Wellness Clinic, Ananda
Wellness Music and Sound Experiences
Wellness music and healthy sound experiences are going to redefine wellness travel in 2021. New evidence from medical journals suggests that music is invaluable in easing the side-effects of a variety of physical and mental conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and high-blood pressure. In the same vein, living in loud environments which most people do has been linked to rises in heart disease, obesity, low birth weight and cognitive impairment in children. Wellness retreats have recognised the health benefits of sound experiences and are incorporating them into their health plans. Shreyas Silent Retreat in India offers a traditional Indian Ashram experience where sound meditation is integral to the wellness journey of guests. As more research uncovers further evidence to the benefits of sound experiences, wellness resorts offering music therapies are becoming more popular.
Top Wellness Destinations: Shreyas, Escape Ritual, Santani
Private Jet Boom for Bespoke Wellness Travel
The decline of the commercial airline industry has created a vacuum that is being filled by a boom in private jet travel. From front door to hotel lobby, clients can skip the queues and uncertainty of airline travel today where possible exposure to Covid-19 is 30 times lower when flying by private aircraft. Former clients of luxury commercial airlines are defecting to private jet providers for a service where luxury and reliability can be guaranteed, when flying to a luxury wellness retreat or medical spa in Europe to booking a spectacular around the world wellness trip. 2020 was the worst financial year in aviation history, so when it comes to wellness travel in 2021, the private jet industry will continue to boom as more people switch to a service that prioritises wellness and personal safety.
Top Wellness Destinations: Italy, Maldives, St Lucia
Big Bucket List Wellness Trip
For many travellers, eager to rid themselves of the unhealthy habits picked up during lockdown, 2021 is going to be the year for a once in a lifetime bucket list wellness trip. Whist most people are just losing the timidity picked up this year, many seasoned travellers are keen for adventurous wellness getaways and weeks of lavish splendour. Destinations in south east Asia have been firm favourites in previous years, for the wonderful climate and incredible scenic beauty. Bali and Thailand sport a great selection of luxury wellness retreats with on-site spas and fitness facilities, often on pristine private beaches. With many people feeling their health suffered from the confines of lockdown, health conscious and ambitious travellers are seeing 2021 as an opportunity to return to that pre-lockdown level with a once in a lifetime wellness trip.
Top Wellness Destinations: Six Senses Kaplankaya, Fusion Maia, COMO Shambhala Estate
Personal Health and Physical Fitness
As health consciousness has become more ubiquitous, we have seen a rise in the number of people pursuing travel to improve their mental and physical health. The collective health concerns of 2020 have had an impact on all other aspects of well-being, acting as a catalyst for people wanting to improve their physical fitness. Regular exercise is a key factor in avoiding the severe symptoms of Covid-19 caused by immune system over-reactions. Informed consumers are keen to prevent getting sick by taking wellness holidays with a focus on personal health and physical fitness. More people are pursuing socially distance friendly ways of achieving their health and fitness goals. Covid-19 safe resorts design their fitness programmes to be isolated, safe, and effective. Healthy holidays and fitness retreats are satisfying the demands for stronger physical health in the wake of the pandemic.
Top Wellness Destinations: The BNKR Ultimate Fitness, Lily of the Valley, The Fit Retreat