wellnessWellness now infiltrates every sector of the travel industry, including cruising and urban hotel stays, as Australians sign up to detox, take time out, lose weight and face life’s big issues.

Ageing baby boomers and men are key drivers behind the huge growth in the wellness industry estimated to be worth a phenomenal $3.4 trillion worldwide, according to US-based Global Wellness Institute. Australia’s own health and wellness industry has grown on average 4.7 per cent a year since 2010, generating more than $387 million, estimates market research company IBIS World. Experts claim people’s fast paced and stressful lives are largely contributing to the growth. Gregg Cave, co-founder of Gaia Byron Bay, says taking time out is essential as we find ourselves over exerting and doing way too much.

“Life seems ‘busier’ than ever and ‘e-toxing’ is becoming more sought after to help individuals let go of their dependence on technology, have time out to rest and then re-engage with the world a lot less wired,” says Brigid Walsh, general manager of Golden Door Elysia in the Hunter Valley.

Celebrity Cruises has seen an explosion in cruise spa holidays in recent years and consequently offers a specialised spa holiday suite class known as Aquaclass. “Booking an Aquaclass suite provides passengers with a personal concierge to arrange spa treatments, and complimentary access to the ship’s Relaxation Room and Persian Garden aromatherapy steam room. Guests even have their own specialty restaurant Blu that serves fresh, healthy cuisine served in a relaxing spa-inspired atmosphere,” said Adam Armstrong, commercial director, Celebrity Cruises Australasia.

Thankfully the industry has evolved beyond the old fat farms and boot camps of old – although weight loss programs remain top sellers – towards a more holistic approach catering for a broad range of goals.

Senior naturopath Damien Evans from Hamilton Island’s Spa qualia says today it’s about a complete holistic approach to a person’s holiday. “People no longer want to have just hotel room stay; they want a unique holistic experience and we can act as facilitators of that, enabling people to recharge, rethink their life and reconnect with those important to them.”

The number of retreats offering world-class facilities, wellness, holistic and medical spa facilities on offer is staggering, says Australian spa curator and treatment trend expert Judy Chapman.

Chapman says Australians have access to excellent therapists; yoga and fitness instructors in their own communities, so the pressure is on for retreats and spas to deliver exceptional experiences beyond what one would normally get at home.  

“Australians are some of the most educated folk about the wellness movement – and that includes men.”

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