Holidays bring relaxation and that feeling of well-being but should we be searching for more? The World Travel Market in London brought the globe to Excel. In one corner stood the brazen states of the USA, the cowhides of Texas and neon lights of Las Vegas, in opposition to the spiritual countries of Asia with the elegant Indonesian dancers, the presence of the Buddha statues and the blaze of colour from traditional dress. Positioned in the middle lay the glitzy stands of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman while Etihad Airlines showed off its enviable residential facilities. The Global Village brought us shopping malls, attractions and theatre-land, while Europe journeyed from France to the Canary Islands. In the back corner, however, veiled from the main exhibition, lay the wellness area, a new offering from the World Travel Market.unnamed-2

Wellbeing… does this mean a spa facility, a beauty health farm, a resort with all the luxury additions or a hideaway to focus on yoga and meditation? There were 25 exhibitors, the response to the rising trend in health tourism and a global wellness market valued around $3.4 trillion. Within this secluded area, you could visit The Blue Lagoon in Iceland and learn about its Spa which is located on a lava field or hear about The Healing Hotels of the World (now totaling 108 members), and its meaningful and holistic message essential in our unstable and unsafe climate. And to help nurture this new era of growth in Spa Tourism, The World Spa Awards were introduced and it was later announced that England’s Best Hotel Spa could be found in Bath at The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa.

unnamedWhile walking around, health tourism was visible in various forms but somewhat disguised. Ecuador was promoting its cocoa beans, known to the country as “black gold” due to the success of its chocolate production, which, according to Spanish researchers, contains a healthier fat profile than others! In the Bahamas, forget dolphins and whales, swimming with pigs would certainly lift your spirits while cruising around the Caribbean. From fashion to health, the designer, Kenzo Takada, has applied his artistic skills to a new private island wellness retreat in Cambodia and in the middle of the Welsh Cambrian Mountains, locals, visitors and wildlife are protected against light pollution amid the 45,000 acre Elan Valley Estate, the perfect location to experience the night sky and chill out.

The World Travel Market opened our eyes to new developments to drive energy towards healthier options, initiatives and opportunities and to inject another aspect to our travels. However, whether this is taken onboard is another question. According to the World Travel Market Industry Report 2015, the British are more active on holiday but less likely to eat and drink healthily, indulging more than they would at home, yet Expedia’s Flip Flop Report (2014) ranked the British as the third laziest in the world, behind Japanese and Thai holidaymakers. With more wellness areas in development, new spas and healthy disguises, it will be interesting to hear if our holidays are truly influenced by healthier choices.