Widely acknowledged as a wellness travel expert, Anne Dimon has been walking, talking, and writing about wellness travel since 2004. She has participated in wellness travel experiences in countries around the world from Antigua & Barbuda, to the Czech Republic, France, Guatemala, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam and countless other destinations.
A former hospitality PR consultant, 20+ year travel writer, columnist and industry journalist, wellness travel industry consultant, founder/editor of TravelToWellness.com, Anne is also Co-Founder and President of the Wellness Tourism Association.
She was there at the very beginning and, through countless articles for both print and online publications, has not only helped spread the wellness travel word but helped shape the concept of wellness travel by today’s definition. And, she has certainly witnessed the wellness tourism industry evolve.
Widely acknowledged as a wellness travel expert, Anne continues to contribute to and be quoted in publications both online and in print. From a recent article she wrote for U.K.-based Spa Business Magazine:
“The facts and figures are widely accessible. Wellness Tourism is a flourishing industry projected to skyrocket—according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI—to close to one trillion dollars U.S. globally by 2020. The numbers reveal that Wellness Tourism is growing at the same speed as the luxury travel sector, and somewhat faster than the global tourism industry as a whole.
As research continues to support evidence of booming global growth, it underscores the need for industry stakeholders—from DMCs, to hotels and resorts, spas, tour operators, cruise lines and other industry suppliers—to take note. This is no short-term trend soon to fizzle out for the next “flavour of the month.” As Jennifer Fox, then President of FRHI, so eloquently put it in a story produced by this writer in October, 2015 for Travel Market Report, “This is not simply a movement,” said Fox, “but a paradigm shift in direction that will remain in place for a long time.” The concept of wellness travel is here to stay.”
As a wellness expert, Anne’s thoughts in response to question: What is wellness travel?
“My own definition dates back to 2004 when I first launched Travel to Wellness and that definition has now morphed into the definition promoted by the Wellness Tourism Association: Wellness travel is “travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance, or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing.” Wellness travel is also very personal. So, beyond the essentials of healthy food options, movement and fitness activities and accessible nature, the individual traveler can add his or her own special interests which could be anything from meditation, to spa treatments to voluntourism. As “giving back” is also part of wellness living, voluntourism can also falls under the umbrella of wellness tourism.”
A look at wellness travel goals
When it comes to wellness travel goals, most people simply want to maintain or improve their overall mental and physical health by immersing themselves in new and unique experiences that speak to their personal sensibilities and cater to their needs. Ask any other travel expert and they’ll also tell you that the objective of wellness travel is to help people maintain or enhance their existing wellness lifestyles or reach their health-related goals. Self-care is often taken for granted in this fast-paced world, so the point of wellness travel is to allow the traveler to promote a healthy lifestyle and/or to offer a support system to help that traveler set health-related goals and bring them to fruition.
What are the most recent trends in health and fitness travel?
While there may be some dispute from recognized wellness travel experts on the topic of wellness travel trends, most will agree that Solo Travel is one of the most prevailing trends. An increasing number of wellness travelers crave privacy and finding a secluded sanctuary in order to work on themselves and improve their mental and physical states. As a wellness expert who’s been working in this industry for over 20 years, Anne has witnessed many trends come and go but due to the very personal nature of wellness, there is no doubt that solo travel is not just a trend but a new development not only under the umbrella of wellness travel but travel in general.
Mental health-focused wellness retreats
Anne and other wellness travel experts are also seeing an increased interest from traveling consumers in focusing more on their mental health in conjunction with physical health. Many guests go to these retreats with the intention of improving their physical health and maybe even losing some weight or toning up, but they come out of these experiences with a deeper understanding of the marriage between physical and mental health. Learning about mindfulness, meditation, and how to apply mental health skills to everyday living situations, as well as focusing on self-improvement and self-reflection, helps guests forego unhealthy habits that are negatively impacting their mental and physical health.