The rise of the Wellness holiday
4 Min Read
It’s the start of a New Year and with it come all those intentions to create good habits, learn new skills and stretch yourself to be a better you.
I am no exception and in the past I have tried various art classes to improve my skills, completed my RYA Level 1 and vowed to improve and expand my cooking repertoire. Every year, whilst safely tucked up on the sofa scrolling through social media, I consider activities like surfing or paddle boarding but am always put off by the water temperature around the UK and Irish coast. This year, I may be adventurous and try the thermal pool at the Lido in Penzance. Let’s see!
Given the recent lifting of Covid testing requirements post New Year, confidence in booking holidays has increased with many tour operators and airlines reporting huge increases in bookings.
Wellness tourism – what’s trending for the coming year
Looking at trends for 2022, wellness tourism is expected to increase and after the restrictions over the last two years it is easy to see why this may be the case. The Global Wellness Institute defines Wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing” which is rather different from medical tourism.
After the last two years, it is not difficult to see why people might want to try something new when the possibility to travel opens up again.
As with any type of holiday or activity booking there are a number of considerations to bear in mind when deciding where to go, what to do and who to book with.
Gone are the days when a wellness break simply meant a trip to a yoga retreat in India. Today, the options that fall under the umbrella of “wellness” are seemingly endless and encompass a broad range of options from five star hotel experiences to more “back to basics options” where access to electronic devices is restricted or simply not possible at all due to remoteness and lack of signal.
People are swayed by influencers and trends they are following. One only has to look at the baked feta pasta phenomena on TikTok to see the impact of social media.
Points to consider before booking a wellness holiday
Depending on the country you travel to, the activities you undertake, how they were booked and the level of comfort you have paid for, regulation of wellness activities will vary and will not be required to meet the regulatory standards you might expect in England for the same activity or experience.
Those more adventurous amongst us may be willing to go further in search of wellness experiences and it is important to carry out your research beforehand and fully understand what you are booking and who you are booking with. Are they a reputable company? How long has the activity been running? What can you do if something goes wrong? Who do you contact? How far are you from medical or other forms of assistance?
Equally important are financial points and how you are being asked to pay. Is payment expected in cash, or by bank transfer, which offers little or no protection if something goes wrong and the experience turns out not to be as expected or not legitimate?
It is also worth searching for any negative reviews on the internet to see what issues have been raised and how they are dealt with.
Problems with a wellness holiday – what to prepare for
In recent years, jungle trips to experience an Ayahuasca experience have become popular. However, you may recall media headlines when a British backpacker died after taking part in such a ceremony in Columbia.
More recent media reporting relates to sexual abuse by shaman at ayahuasca retreats.
Whilst these may be unfortunate and isolated incidents, it is worth bearing such issues in mind when planning your experience.
If you are travelling on your own it is important to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.If you book your wellness holiday and experiences as a package holiday then you will receive some protection under the updated Package Holiday Regulations. If you are travelling independently then recourse may be more difficult or not possible at all
It is also worth considering whether you can pay with a credit card so that you may have the protection offered by way of S. 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if something goes wrong and you don’t receive the service that you paid for.
Finally, consider the terms of your travel insurance policy: does it provide cover for the activities that you are going to partake in and the locations you are travelling to? Is the level of cover sufficient and have you disclosed all medical conditions?