How to tell your wellness resorts from your destination spas

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Want to know how to tell your wellness resorts from your destination spas? The Wellness Tourism Association, based in the State of Colorado, has created a WTA Glossary of Industry Terms designed to become the basis for common understanding and further define and establish standards for the growing global wellness tourism industry.

Wellness is very much the focus of the spa industry, a growing emphasis that has been harnessed and honed over recent years. At the start of the year we forecast the 2018 emphasis on personalised wellness, targeted retreats that address particular health concerns and an overall approach to long term wellbeing.

As if to emphasise the point, the WTA Glossary currently consists of the following eight terms: Wellness Destination, Wellness Tourism, Wellness Travel, Wellness Traveler, Wellness Resort, Wellness Retreat, Wellness Vacation and Wellness Visitor, and new terms will be added as the industry continues to evolve.

Andrew Gibson, WTA chair and Accor Hotels vice president of wellbeing said: “We feel the terms will provide clarification and benefits not only to our members, but to anyone with an interest in the wellness tourism industry.”

Notably, they have renamed ‘destination spas’, to be ‘wellness resorts’ to describe integrative spas with offerings far beyond standard treatments. These are places that are more than just a chance to relax and lose weight; they are places to make transformative life changes that last well beyond a vacation.

The WTA Glossary of Industry Terms is as follows:

Wellness Tourism

A specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and activities primarily focused on serving the Wellness Traveler and those who want to be.

Wellness Travel

Travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing.

Wellness Traveller

Often referred to as the “primary wellness traveler,” an individual who makes wellness the primary purpose of their travels.

Wellness Visitor

Often referred to as the ‘secondary wellness traveller’, an individual who works elements of wellness into their travels for business or pleasure.

Wellness Vacation/Holiday

Wellness Vacation / Holiday is Wellness Travel powered by a wellness-focused intention. Wellness Vacations/Holidays are typically self-directed with the traveler setting his or her own timetable and schedule. They may also include a Wellness Retreat.

Wellness Retreat

A guided, intention-driven, multi-day programme with a set or semi-set schedule, and hosted by one or more facilitators. The programme may include learning and lifestyle workshops such as meditation and healthy eating, as well as fitness activities such as yoga, nature walks and hiking.

Wellness Resort

Any facility with accommodations and a range of hospitality services where the primary purpose is to provide programs and experiences for the Wellness Traveler. The Wellness Resort is comprised of four primary elements: accommodations, a variety of wellness activities, healthy dining options and wellness-related facilities.

Wellness Destination

A geographical area that fosters and promotes wellness as an integral part of life within the community and economics of the region.

Written by
Bonnie Friend
“A journalist by trade, Bonnie is the Editor for Spabreaks.com. Keen to spread the message on accessible wellbeing and a spa experience for all, she thinks green smoothies are somewhat overrated and her favourite spa treatment is an Elemis Couture Technology facial.”
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