As the wellness tourism sector continues to boom, the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) has released a list of suggested assets and attributes that locations wishing to position themselves as “wellness destinations” for travelers should ensure they possess.
“There is nothing more vital to the continued growth of wellness tourism than for consumers to be clear on what awaits them in their travels,” says Anne Diamond, president of the WTA. “WTA sees the nine-point criteria as a necessary foundation for any region proclaiming itself a wellness destination, and suggests that tourism boards, convention and visitor bureaus, and destination marketing organizations intending to call or promote themselves as such, possess or have these basic assets and attributes in place.”
Marketing simple wellness offerings or strategic wellness initiatives is one thing, but as the hype behind wellness travel continues to soar, it has become increasingly difficult for travelers to decipher which destinations are truly wellness locales and which are just riding the wave. According to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2018 Wellness Tourism Economy Report, the number of countries that actively market some form of wellness tourism on a national level has grown from 65 in 2013 to more than 100 countries in 2018, and as such, the WTA is calling for destinations that market themselves as wellness destinations to uphold a certain basic criteria as to not confuse the travel consumer. In simpler terms, the WTA feels the term “wellness destination” should come with some responsibility.
In response, the WTA has created the following nine-point list that all places positioning themselves as wellness destinations should have in place, to ensure they are meeting the needs of the average wellness traveler.
- A safe and secure environment in both perception and reality.
- A clean and sanitary infrastructure for both locals and visitors.
- A quality-of-life for locals who benefit from tourism dollars—for example, the creation of jobs within the industry and the creation of a market for locally made produce, products, and services.
- Natural assets such as hot springs, mountains, bodies of water, forests, resources for thalassotherapy, and more, within the confines of the destination and easily accessible to visitors.
- Substantial sustainability policies and practices in place.
- The availability and accessibility of a wide range of wellness-professionals and practitioners, including those who offer holistic and alternative modalities.
- 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.
- Availability of a range of fitness-based activities and tours, such as yoga, hiking, cycling, fitness classes, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding.
- A physical environment that is somewhat removed from the noise that has become daily life in the 21st century.