Lush green forests, mountain peaks and water bodies are soothing. The pandemic made us realise how critical nature is for survival. As more people turn towards nature-inspired and health-focussed experiences, luxury hotels are no longer the first preference for stay. Filling that space are wellness resorts.
People are now investing hugely in their wellbeing. A report by the Global Wellness Institute says wellness tourism is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent by 2022. And as wellness travel evolves and expands, the hospitality industry is starting to provide a variety of strictly curated meals and supervised workouts, and emphasise mindfulness and enlightenment. Wellness tourism is defined as a vacation for the purpose of improving physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The benefits provided by wellness brands can be numerous and people are taking wellness trips to renew their all-round health. “The consumer is a lot more health- and hygiene-conscious now, and to meet these expectations we are going to see various types of wellness packages being introduced by hotels and resorts. We are just getting started on the wellness wave and this will be a big area of opportunity,” feels Nikhil Kapur, Founder & Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre.
Detox and heal
Jindal Naturecure Institute (JNI) offers a disease-specific treatment regimen through a combination of inter-related, independent holistic systems like naturopathy, yoga, diet therapy, acupuncture and physiotherapy. “The therapies and customised natural treatments vary depending on the lifestyle, history and genetics of the individual,” explains Dr Babina NM, Chief Medical Officer, JNI. JNI also offers holistic naturopathic treatments like hydrotherapy, mud therapy, fasting therapy, manual therapy and aquatic exercises. The protocol includes exercises, a planned diet, and lifestyle modifications to prevent the recurrence of diseases as well as promote a natural and healthy way of living. “One of the biggest benefits of these drugless and natural healing treatments is that they reduce the dependency on conventional drugs and people are able to lead a healthier life,” adds Dr Babina.
Locations in the heart of nature, away from congested areas, but easily accessed by car or short flights, will be in demand. “Easy access to nature is something that typically tops the list of ‘must visit’ for wellness-minded travellers, and nature is one of the pillars of wellness travel,” says K Mohanchandran, Area Director, Udaipur & Jodhpur, and General Manager, Taj Lake Palace.
He says high-calorie, low-fibre food such as deep-fried delicacies, red meat, and dishes high in sugar and gluten are being edged out by healthy food options. “For serious wellness foodies, the cuisine is curated by our chefs to incorporate the goodness of various herbs, fruit, cereals and natural detoxifiers,” he adds.
Preeti Seth, Nutritionist and Cosmetologist, founder, Pachouli Wellness Clinics, says “We are trying our best to help people, educate and counsel them through various social platforms.” Noting that the demand from small groups and ‘invite-only’ guests has been robust, she says, “As health managers we have to dedicate time to every individual to consider their ailments within a broader perspective. We accept bookings accordingly and the business is now being run within a very tight booking window.”
Staycations are trending
Experts say that there has been 30 to 40 per cent rise in wellness travel bookings. “We are seeing a strong demand. I believe there will be a surge in the coming 1-2 years, as India is the best place for all things wellness,” says Nikhil Kapur. When asked about the staycations trend after the second Covid wave, Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels & Resorts which includes The Roseate Ganges, a wellness and luxury resort, says “Due to the suppression of customer demand during the pandemic, the industry is expected to face a period of concentrated demand release in the coming season, from weary millennials and Work From Home employees who are in dire need of a vacation but are particular about sanitation and hygiene. Another welcome trend is that guests are no longer booking the cheapest hotel they can find, but want value for money.” Many states have eased Covid-related restrictions, and there is an upswing in enquiries for hotel bookings. “On weekends, we have 70-80% occupancy in most of our hill properties, which is very encouraging,” says Abinash Manghani, CEO, WelcomHeritage Group. According to him, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people plan their travel. “We adopted a proactive approach and introduced various innovative packages to suit the requirement of different types of travellers,” he shares.
Reviving jaded bodies and minds
Resorts and spas are entering into medical tourism, offering programmes developed and executed by professionals. Gauarv Sekhri, Hotel Manager, The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa, says “Spa and wellness tourism generally focuses on good food, rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.”
Nikhil Kapur lists some wellness trends that are sure to shape the industry
l Spa Retreat
The journey of ultimate luxury and pampering, where you are truly able to unwind and reconnect with yourself.
l Detox Retreat
Immersed in traditional naturopathic principles alongside modern cleansing sciences, these master cleanse affords you prime cellular detoxification of body, mind and soul.
l Weight Balance
The retreat is a weight management package that gives you the opportunity to kick start a new way of thinking, make self-enhancing lifestyle choices and consequently empowers you to make informed and positive changes to your life!
l Journey Through Yoga
It provides you with the right guidance towards imbibing the principles of Yoga as you experience its wonderful lifestyle benefits.
l Ayurvedic Panchkarma
It is a journey of discovery, cleansing and awakening of your healing energies and senses.
l Emotional Healing
It is a journey of self-discovery, and in the process empowering you to unlock your own body’s natural abilities to self-heal…
l Injury Management
This retreat focuses on restoring mobility, strength & improving quality of movement such that the desired level of physical comfort is achieved.
l Post Covid Recovery
It is specially curated for anyone who has had a past infection or has a co-morbid condition that makes them susceptible to infections. It is essentially needed for those who want to focus and build on their adaptive immunity and reduce their vulnerability.
l Natural Healing
This preventive and curative Retreat integrates functional medicine science with nutritional therapy, naturopathic treatments, supplements, homeo-detox supplements while coalescing it with the right clinical care, holistic and fitness classes, physiotherapy assessments, educational workshop and social support.
Easy access to nature is something that typically tops the list of ‘must visit’ for wellness-minded travellers, and nature is one of the pillars of wellness travel. For serious wellness foodies, the cuisine is curated by our chefs to incorporate the goodness of various herbs, fruit, cereals and natural detoxifiers
— K Mohanchandran
On weekends, we have 70-80% occupancy in most of our hill properties, which is very encouraging. We adopted a proactive approach and introduced various innovative packages like 'Work from Home’ packages, ‘Drivable Holidays’, ‘Head for the Hills’, Staycation packages etc, to suit the requirement of different types of travellers
— Abinash Manghani
Due to the suppression of customer demand during the pandemic, the industry is expected to face a period of concentrated demand release in the coming season, from weary millennials and Work From Home employees who are in dire need of a vacation but are particular about sanitation and hygiene
— Kush Kapoor