Anne Dimon shares nine attributes that a destination can use in order to successful attract the newly cautious leisure traveller.
The post COVID-19 traveller will certainly be more guarded and more discriminating in their selection of travel destinations, accommodations and experiences. They will be seeking wellness destinations.
The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) unveiled a nine-point list of assets and attributes that any destination should possess in order to market itself as a wellness destination.
1. A safe/secure environment in both perception and reality
When lockdowns are lifted, borders reopen and travel begins to resume the most appealing destinations will be those that have the trust and confidence of the general public. The manner in which local government and public health officials have managed the crises, plus the new protocols, policies and procedures that have been implemented for the safely of the local community as well as visitors will be at the forefront of decision-making by the traveler. Consumers will select to travel to destinations they know and/or trust.
2. A clean and sanitary infrastructure for both locals and visitors
In further support of point 1, visitors will demand to know that upgraded hygiene and cleanliness procedures rank high on the list of newly implemented policies.
3. A quality-of-life for locals who benefit from tourism dollars
Following the disruption to most economies around the world, more travelers will want to know that at least some of their travel dollars are going back into the community to support local workers and the creation of a market for locally-grown produce, locally-made products and services offered by local entrepreneurs.
4. Natural assets (hot springs/mountains/bodies of water/forests/resources for thalassotherapy) or other natural assets within the confines of the destination and easily accessible to visitors
As the industry reopens, more travelers will want to avoid the congested cities and over-populated tourist attractions in favor of more remote locations. So local tourism officials will want to highlight their own easily accessible natural assets.
5. Since wellness tourism and wellness travel encompass wellness for the planet, the destination must have substantial sustainability policies and practices in place
At the WTA, we are cautiously optimistic that more people will not only be more concerned about their personal health and wellness but that of the planet. Travellers will want to know that destinations are doing their fair share to protect the local environment.
6. The availability of a range of fitness based activities and tours such as yoga, hiking, cycling, fitness classes, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding
It is being predicted that many will not only want to be out in nature but will begin to place a priority on self-care including the elements that help strengthen and stabilise the immune system – such as the movement and exercise that comes with the various types of activities noted above. The geographic destinations that allow visitors to have easy to such activities will score highly among these more health-focused travelers.
7. A physical environment that is somewhat removed from the noise that has become “daily life” in the 21st century
For all destinations this would align with point 4, and the desire of travellers to seek out more remote locations away from the more congested areas and heavily- trafficked tourist attractions.
8. The availability and accessibility of a wide range of wellness professionals and practitioners, including those who offer holistic and alternative modalities
9. A selection of hotel restaurants and independent restaurants offering healthy cuisine prepared by chefs committed to clean eating and who work in partnership with local growers
Established in 2018 with the mission to unite the global wellness tourism industry while establishing definitions and industry standards, the WTA announced in January of this year that it is now a community of 100 plus members and partners from 21 countries.