Leisure & Hospitality International - Spring 2015 - 7

The Healthy Way to Travel
THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS TRAVEL NICHE IS SET TO OUTPACE THE OVERALL
TRAVEL SECTOR, GROWING AT TWICE THE RATE. BY JAMIE MORGAN
It seems every industry is benefitting from the growing health
and wellness community. Even in tourism, which is a $3 trillion
industry globally, health and wellness travel takes up a $490
billion-worth slice of that pie. And that number is only expected
to grow. According to Les Roches International School of Hotel
Management, wellness tourism is projected to grow 9 percent
between 2013 to 2017 - an almost 50 percent higher growth rate
than the tourism industry as a whole.
What's more, this traveling niche knows
how to spend. They say health is wealth
but it looks like that phrase goes the
other way around, too. Les Roches
estimates that the international tourist
on a holiday spends about $1,000 while
the international tourist on a wellness
trip spends about $2,000. Money talks
and the hospitality community has been
listening for quite some time now. Les
Roches' research shows that wellness
tourists favor the United States, Germany, Japan, France and Austria when
planning their vacations.
Intercontinental Hotel Group has its
Even Hotels, which debuted last year.
The brand aims to help guests "keep
active, rest easy, eat well and accomplish
more." Starwood Hotels and Resorts
saw the signs a bit earlier and opened
its dedicated wellness brand Element by
Westin in 2008.

Gwenn Feliciano, director of sales and
marketing at Pritikin Longevity Center
+ Spa, which has been in the business
even longer - try 1975 - says the market
is certainly growing. The Miami-based
center got its start catering to those
with heart disease. During the all-inclusive stay, guests meet with doctors and
follow a one- or two-week plan consisting of wellness education classes, a
specialized diet and a fitness regimen all
while forming bonds with other guests
to encourage one another through the
process. Because of its initial focus on
heart disease, Pritikin's typical guests
consist of men and women in their 50s,
60s and 70s. However, with the global
focus on health and wellness, Feliciano
says Pritkin's guests are getting younger
and younger.
"In the last 18 months we've noticed
a lot of the younger crowd coming in,

which we are excited about," Feliciano
says. "We want to be not only addressing current issues that guests have but
also prevention. It's not an inexpensive
experience, so the guests do tend to be
a little older and of more means - CEOS,
business owners, some politicians - but
we are still targeting that younger demographic. Younger people are starting to
become aware of aging and the impact
the American lifestyle has on them."
Feliciano says that today's wellness
tourists are not looking for a one-sizefits-all approach, but a more flexible program that they can tailor to meet their
individual needs. In the past, Pritikin's
sole focus was on cardio and low-sodium
diets - a wonderful regimen for those
with heart disease. But not every tourist
has the same goal. She says the properties that will catch this growing market
are those who can adapt to wide range
of fitness goals.
"There's Zumba and yoga and drum
yoga, and we have an aquatic center,"
Feliciano says. "There's so much out
there and you really have to stay at the
forefront as far as fitness is concerned.
And we've adapted the diet plan, too.
People come with different health priorities. What we do is help people learn
what is best for their body and come up
with a plan they can take home."

New Year, New Trends P.8 / Fit for Travel P.10 / More than a Perk P.12 /
Spring 2015 LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL | WWW.LHIMAGAZINE.COM

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