Wellness Travel - A Mindful Approach
Feeling healthy and vital in body and mind is something we all aspire to – and that's exactly the desire the wellness industry taps into. Distinct from medicine, which deals with disease, wellness is concerned with all-round health, including physical fitness, psychological wellbeing and good nutrition.
Words by Natasha Were.
In a fast-paced, stressed out and unhealthy world, it’s hardly surprising that people are more prepared than ever to invest time and money in their personal wellbeing, whether at home, at work or on vacation.
The Global Wellness Institute puts the value of the worldwide wellness economy - which covers everything from fitness classes and day spas to healthy food and yoga retreats - at a massive $4.2 trillion.
Wellness tourism, which is defined as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing,” is one of the fastest growing sectors of the wellness industry.
Globally, wellness tourism was valued at $639 billion in 2017 and is growing twice as fast as overall tourism. Embracing this emerging trend makes sound economic sense: wellness travellers spend, on average, 53% more than mainstream tourists, and as these visitors pay for both generic services, such as accommodation and transport, and for wellness-focused activities, like massages and fitness classes, that spending benefits all segments of the tourism industry.
With plenty of natural beauty, countless land and water-based activities, numerous day spas and superb restaurants, Cayman has all the ingredients to attract wellness-seekers, and over the past few years, the Department of Tourism has been working to further develop this emerging sector.
Although most large hotels and resorts on island list spas and gyms among their amenities, and provide these facilities as an add-on to a vacation, to date no resorts have aimed their product specifically at the wellness traveller.
That is all about to change, however. Kim and Ashleigh Lund recently announced plans to develop the site of the former Mariner’s Cove into a ‘healing resort’ where alongside organic gardens, yoga spaces and vegan food, guests will be able to choose from a variety of natural healing therapies.
In George Town, meanwhile, local developer NCB Group has partnered with the Hilton brand to build Cayman’s first Hilton Hotel, a boutique wellness hotel where every element – from a sea view spa and farm-to-table dining to organic wines - is dedicated to enhancing guests’ physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The concept of human health dovetails naturally with the health of the environment, and both these developments will be eco-friendly. Sustainable construction has always been a priority for NCB Group, and thus a wellness hotel is a natural extension of these values.
“Although sustainability has typically been associated with the natural environment, at its core it’s about balance – using the resources available to us responsibly, so that we do not exhaust them for the next generation,” explains Sales & Marketing Manager Tania Knapik. “At NCB Group we believe that human sustainability is equally important and that means looking after our physical and mental health today, so that we can thrive in the future.”
Developing wellness tourism therefore promises more sustainable construction, improved wellbeing for visitors and more spending in tourism businesses. In other words, a healthy environment, healthy people and a healthy economy. That is something everyone can get behind.
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