It looks like the pandemic is here to stay, at least for a while. And holistic well-being, focussed on nutrition and rejuvenation is being talked about more than ever. The hospitality industry in India has seen a renewed interest in wellness tourism. Travellers are seeking out health and wellness retreats to build their immunity.
According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent by 2022. This is higher than the projected 6.4 percent rate for the annual growth of overall global tourism. As things get back to (some sembalnce of) normalcy, it is predicted that wellness is going to be a priority for everyone and people will plan their vacations around it. In the months to come, we may well see wellness tourism taking centre-stage.
In India too, wellness resorts are hopeful of getting a decent footfall.
Anand Shekhawat, Regional Director of Aman Resorts in India, says that people will travel to places that offer health and wellness enhancing opportunities and tourism will shift from simple spa and leisure travel to health and wellness-focused travel. He points out that India is a hub of many holistic streams of medicine such as ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, Tibetan medicine, and more.
“The anxiety and stress due to COVID-19 can be resolved with holidays in wellness-focused places which offer the essence of these holistic therapies and Indian spirituality and well-being,” he says. Shekhawat reiterates that preventive healthcare is a good way to combat diseases. “Practices like yoga, ayurveda, and meditation respect nature, and at the same time, they guide us on our daily physical activities, a wholesome diet, and simple methods of fasting and detoxing."
Speaking about the measures that Amanbagh is taking to revamp their wellness plans, Shekhawat says that guests will receive a comprehensive wellness consultation by the resort’s resident ayurveda doctor, who will evaluate doshas (flaws) within the body determining the guest’s constitution and tailor a bespoke wellness programme and diet. “Our menu comprises healthy dishes using the freshest local produce from Amanbagh’s organic vegetable garden,” he says.
Mahesh Natarajan, Senior Vice President - Marketing, Sales, & Business Development, Ananda Spa, Rishikesh also feels that wellness tourism will gain precedence in the coming times. The well-known health retreat has been offering online services to patrons ever since the pandemic hit India and the response has been tremendous. “We made a switch to offer our services online, and all of our past guests and new audiences across the world really appreciated this. We conduct a 90-minute yoga and meditation session daily, twice a day, that people can subscribe to. Guests can also book personalised sessions."
Ananda recently announced that the spa will reopen from August 1, and the resort has already received inquiries for comprehensive wellness programmes. “Our guests are now evaluating the best mode of travel by road or by non-stop daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. And for those who are unable to come, our virtual well-being offerings are providing optimal support, ” says Natarajan.
Ananda has rolled two new initiatives: the Ayurvedic Rejuvenation programme and the Immunity Booster programme, which are designed to help people focus on enhancing their immune system.
CGH Earth’s SwaSwara at Gokarana’s Om Beach will open with new programmes for wellness holidays that do not include body contact therapies. “There’s going to be a huge surge in people seeking wellness holidays now. In the immediate future, we see people from Bangalore and Maharashtra taking driving holidays to SwaSwara to reboot,” says Sidarth Dominic, CEO, CGH Earth. “The method of our treatments require proximity to the patient and close interaction with them. We have put in place enhanced safety and hygiene measures to safeguard the guests, the staff and the community around us."
One of the aspects of travel is that we always end up getting renewed physically and mentally. After such a long period of being locked down, it's imperative we plan a detox travel trip, eat better, and get fit. And wellness retreats with their range of mind/body programmes are perfect for that.