The world has changed irrevocably since COVID hit and some people might argue that it’s changed for the better in some ways. The environment is healing. People are finding new joy in their local areas, and home countries. We’ve all been forced to take stock of what is meaningful, what sustains us when times are tough, and how we want to be in the world.
This is why people are increasingly seeking out unforgettable experiences, rather than superficial hedonism when it comes to travel. They want more than cocktails by the pool. They want to learn, grow, contribute and improve.
This kind of experience, dubbed Transformational Travel, is now recognised as one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry.
In a recent Global Wellness Institute survey, respondents that said that their top reasons for wanting to travel were to de-stress and relax, maintain their wellbeing, improve their mental health, have an adventure and focus on fitness. Of those respondents, 76 per cent wanted to include a wellness component in their trip, 72 per cent were seeking a connection to nature, 42 per cent wanted outdoor activities, 45 per cent wanted local healthy food and 28 per cent were looking for sustainable, eco-tourism options.
So what are the keys trends in this booming sector? Here are the top five:
1. Spending time in nature, whether it swimming, climbing a mountain, surfing, camping. Forest bathing is becoming very popular.
2. Experiencing natural wonders and phenomena such as the Northern Lights, Antarctica, the 12 Apostles and Machu Picchu, as well as seeing the mountain gorillas in Africa or the great wildebeest migration.
3. Engaging in experiences that enhance your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. These include activities like yoga, meditation, healing, nutrition, thermal springs, tai chi or mindful art sessions to name a few.
Going off grid
4. Heading to places that you are completely off grid to enjoy a digital detox and time away from everyone and the stresses of day-to-day life. This could be a boat trip, a hike or camping in the middle of nowhere. Time away allows for contemplation, nourishment and personal growth, as well as rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Special interest groups
5. Taking a specialist tour or spending time doing a hobby that you love. You may like to join an adventure tour, cooking course, art experience or a cycling adventure.
Jo Surkitt is the founder of Revitalise Escapes, Transformational Travel experiences on the Great Ocean Road and Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria. Departures from March 2021 onwards. More information and pricing is available on the website: www.revitaliseescapes.com.au