As travel becomes a top priority in 2021, one of the strongest emerging travel trends is wellness vacations. People are checking into retreats and resorts to improve the quality of their life and boost immunity. Luxury wellness resorts across India, overlooking hills and rivers, or nestled in between the Gangetic valley and snow-clad Himalayan peaks, equipped with sky baths and private decks, have become the new hot spots for health-conscious travellers. Nikhil Kapur, Founder-Director of Atmantan Wellness Centre says, “Mindfulness, spending time with family, connecting over a holiday, eating clean food, being in an environmentally responsible destination, breathing clean air have now become life’s new luxuries.”
Decoding the wellness travel trends post pandemic, LuxeBook is in conversation with Ashok Khanna, Founder and MD, Ananda in the Himalayas, Sidarth Dominic, CEO, CGH Earth – Experience Wellness, SwaSwara Retreat and Nikhil Kapur.
“Our travellers seek to slow down and embrace nature. They want to find that quiet space to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones. Most importantly, they want to find that balance between the body, mind and spirit through yoga, meditation and Ayurveda,” says Dominic. Catering to a variety of age groups, CGH Earth’s CEO says that the wellness travel demographic ranges from mid 30s to mid 50s. These guests choose to stay along with their families for about 14 to 30 days.
At Atmantan, 30 per cent of guests have opted for programmes that help management or treatment of autoimmune conditions, and in most cases, the trigger is chronic stress. The resort’s average stay duration has gone up from 7 days during pre-covid to 9 days. The wellness travel industry is booming; Kapur has been getting wellness department management inquiriesfor standalone hotels as well. These hotels want to add value by offering meaningful experiences to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
Khanna has seen a shift in guests’ preferences in the pandemic. In the last decade, the most popular programmes were detox and weight-loss. However, over the past 4-5 years, programmes following traditional wellness systems for long-term wellbeing and immunity building have gain ground. As Indians are increasingly travelling within the country, the palatial estate of Ananda in Uttarakhand has seen a hike in interest among domestic travellers. Khanna also expects to see a resurgence in international guests once the borders open without restrictions.
A pandemic-related trend is the inclusion of immunity boosting programmes in the rosters of, both, Ananda and Atmantan.
Ananda has introduced a new Post-Covid Rejuvenation programme. The goal is to build immunity, nourish and revitalise all systems. The key focus areas include various therapies, diets, herbal medicines and supplements, yoga, pranayama and meditation. Specific psychological aspects will also be addressed by Yoga & Emotional Healing experts. The minimum length of stay for this programme is 10 days. Focusing on mental health concerns, Ananda Bhava was also launched, which introduces holistic therapies lead by experts that are integrated within the comprehensive wellness programmes at Ananda. They promote emotional healing, control anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders.
Atmantan’s newest offering is the Super Immunity Program for post-Covid recovery. The program is for those who suffer from existing co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune conditions. It helps one detox, lose weight and promotes emotional wellness through exercise, meditation, yoga, a gut enhancing diet, adapting an ideal sleep cycle and practicing mindfulness.This year Atmantan, made the decision to go all vegetarian, Kapur believes that killing an animal and consuming its meat implies that the negative energy which the animal felt gets passed on to the person.
Citing the Vedic scriptures, Kapur talks about how different foods have different effects in compartments of the brain. Pure vegetarian, Satvik food helps us maintain a mental equilibrium and is easily digested by our body as well. Kapur felt that amidst these testing times, there was a need to take stock of how we have been living our lives. They concluded that vegetarian cuisine is better suited for one’s healing, detox and overall nourishment.
Technology takes over
“In 2020, there was no real travel, however, this is when the consumption changed towards virtual applications providing holistic wellness,” says Kapur. In a digital world, an online platform by Atmantan ensures a hands-on aftercare programme, which ensures that guests continue their wellness practices.
Ananda introduced online wellbeing sessions during the lockdown, making it a part of their permanent roster. Both Khanna and Kapur stress the importance of digital marketing and technology to create interactive content, teaching users the benefits of holistic health.
SwaSwara has stringent measures for dealing with the pandemic, and their phased opening of the room inventory contributes to the safety of the local community, staff and guests.
At Atmantan, part of COVID protocols include onsite living accommodations for the team, and daily temperature checks for guests and staff. The highest level of disinfection is carried out with advanced UV-C machines & other spraying technologies throughout the property. There is the assurance in the SAFE FOR YOU tags placed at various touch points throughout the property.
Similarly, Ananda in the Himalayas’, safety-led initiatives include housing the entire team on the premises. Required protocols, such as daily assessments by a team of doctors for guests and staff are followed. Daily deep cleaning, regular sanitisation of all guest rooms, dining and spa area is mandatory and all customer facing staff use necessary protection gear in their interactions.