A new association will be a network of, and for, qualifying members of the wellness tourism industry. Its objectives will help to define the industry, as well as educate consumers to recognize legitimate and credible wellness suppliers and operators.
A group of seasoned wellness industry executives have joined forces to create the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA). Registered in the State of Colorado as a not-for-profit, privately-held organization, the WTA has been established and designed to serve this booming travel sector.
“Our mission is clear and concise,” says Co-Founder and Chairman Andrew Gibson, VP Wellbeing, Accor Hotels, “We plan to support and further the growth and development of the wellness tourism industry through networking, education, communication and marketing.”
Co-Founding member Tom Klein, President & COO of Canyon Ranch stated, “The WTA will fill a gap in this global industry by providing a credible and unified voice.” Klein added, “As with all associations, the goals and objectives will be determined by the members.”
According to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, the Wellness Tourism segment is a $563 billion industry — growing faster than the tourism industry itself. “It makes perfect sense to have our own association,” says Co-Founder and President, Anne Dimon, Founder/CEO of TravelToWellness.com “Especially since there is some confusion with consumers and travel agents as to what constitutes legitimate ‘wellness travel.”
Nilendu Srivastava, Managing Director of The Art of Living Retreat Center, a year-round wellness retreat facility in Boone, North Carolina is another Founding Member.
The association’s first tourism office member – the Monaco Government Tourist Office – will be represented by Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco’s Director, North America. The wellness history of this city-state dates back to 1860 and the Etablissement des Bains, Monaco’s first baths where people traveled to benefit from the curative powers of the Mediterranean.
Madeleine Marentette, owner of Grail Springs — recent recipient of Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat 2017 — will also sit on the first Board of Directors – – as will Jim Forberg, Founding Partner and COO of Unicomm LLC, producers of the long-running Travel & Adventure Show and introducing a wellness element to their shows in 2018.
Wellness Tourism is not a new industry, as people have traveled both nationally and internationally with health or wellness the primary focus since the time of the Roman Baths. Today, the commitment to ‘health as your wealth’ transcends borders, cultures and ages, with many new companies flocking to the sector.
Membership will be open to qualifying destination marketing organizations, hotels and resorts, destination spas, tour operators, travel advisors, wellness educators and others with an interest in supporting the industry and helping shape its future and sustainability. Dimon adds that, “while ‘wellness’ is often thought to be a luxury category of travel, we also want to ensure we represent a diverse range of members across consumer segments.”