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The global wellness tourism market is predicted to reach a staggering $1.2 trillion by 2027.
In this exclusive article, SANDIE JOHANNESSEN, the award-winning Health and Wellness Director, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som, explains why more and more people are embracing wellness tourism.

THE COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront longstanding health discrepancies – from sedentary lifestyles caused by hours spent at desks to poor eating habits such as fried food and takeaway meals.

Worse still, it gave rise to chronic diseases, along with physical and mental illnesses.

The pandemic also made people consider what wasn’t working. With access to worldwide information, we have become increasingly aware of the importance of health and wellness.

Many of us are now changing our lifestyles to include regular exercise, better nutrition, shift towards plant-based foods, incorporate meditation and yoga to promote relaxation and vitamin consumption to boost immunity.

This desire is the driving force behind a new type of travel in the form of wellness tourism.

Incorporating stress relief techniques, hiking, yoga, meditation, detox treatments and cuisine, wellness tourism is a focus on rejuvenating health using practices embedded in healing and sustainability.

With these in mind it’s clear that wellness practices can be multi-faceted and easily integrated into the concept of tourism, differentiated by the operator capability and investment.

Sandie Johannessen – Health and Wellness Director at Zulal Wellness Resort By Chiva-Som

Wellness resorts are recognising the importance of environmental sustainability and community preservation.

We are no longer viewing the wellness industry as an isolated property, cut off from the world.

Instead, the idea of “exclusive” is quickly becoming “inclusive”, envisioning wellness for everyone, not just the privileged few.

What’s more interesting is that wellness practices are becoming increasingly self-sufficient, meaning that people want ways to practice wellness at home and throughout the year.

Additionally, these practices are returning to a simplistic way of achieving health, recognising that good diet, exercise, adequate sleep, proper stress management and pursuing joyful and meaningful activities in life are what truly inspire and sustain long-term wellness.

Wellness is moving away from the complex routines and retreats and more towards minimalism, using nature, the elements and basic sustainable wellness practices as the primary approach to promoting health and wellbeing.

Therefore, people are motivated into the wellness practice and can adapt it into their way of living.

Multi-day retreats that offer an array of options, from cuisine and exercise through to personalised treatments, yoga, meditation and detox therapies, are booming.

Local healing therapies and treatments rooted in ancient traditions going back generations are becoming the norm as people increasingly embrace the power of nature.

Whether it is to improve gut health or reduce weight, personalisation is key to achieve our goals.

Resorts that offer bespoke treatments and not ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions are highly sought after, making inroads into a growing legion of younger followers who intend to incorporate this new way of living into their everyday routines – well beyond a retreat experience.

As an example of a wellness retreat, at Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som in Qatar guests first have an appointment with a Health and Wellness advisor who will discuss objectives and make modifications to your retreat program to align with them.

The goal is to create a connection between the mind, body and spirit for a balanced life, focussing on holistic health, traditional therapies and physical fitness together with rest and relaxation.


Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som

Another factor contributing to the growth of wellness tourism is the strong preference for sustainable practices – reflecting environmental and physical wellness.

Top wellness resorts are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint by focussing on increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste and using nature more responsibly.

As people lay greater emphasis on physical and mental health and wellbeing, we predict at least a huge increase in this type of tourism over the next few years with the global wellness tourism market predicted to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027 according to the Wellness Tourism Industry Statistics 2021.

The Middle East and Qatar specifically is an up-and-coming destination for wellness tourism and a major aviation hub that links Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Thanks to its rich culture and warm hospitality, travellers can enjoy pursuing wellness in a culture-rich destination.