Wellness Tourism – Every Government’s Trump Card

You know, you get weeks, and you get ‘<em>weeks</em>’. This last one was something of a standout for the year so far. And, like anything worth having, it didn’t come without a small amount of elbow grease.

First, the Wellness Tourism Congress, Roundtable Breakfast, held at The Dorchester London. Three months in the making and the result of an unequivocally positive response to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy report, released in October 2013. Sometimes a sense of timing can wind up being too futuristic, other times, one can miss the boat; today though, wellness tourism  is the snuggest of snug fit solutions for a multi dimensional spectrum of global and regional challenges. From commercial to socio economic, healthy behaviours to high yield travellers. Wellness tourism is shaping up to be every government’s trump card.Fullhouse2.jpg

A gathering of esteemed industry leaders from both private and public sector businesses, Visit Britain and Barclays to BUPA and the WTTC  (World Travel and Tourism Council). They all gathered at the iconic Dorchester Hotel just last Tuesday.  The agenda; raising the profile and the understanding of the (now more known) Wellness Tourism industry and also, tuning in to the expertise, wisdom and experience of those attending.  It was a privilege to facilitate such a rich and engaged discussion, many aspects stood out.  The biggest take away and highlight for me, was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the need for education at every single stakeholder level. Also the keen interest from those attending. When several high calibre, revered industry leaders want to carry on the conversation and tell you ‘Count on me for the next step, I’d like to be included.’ It says a lot about the subject matter and the potential they are seeing.

The second highpoint justified a publically witnessed ‘happiness’ dance when the confirmation email came through. A project I’ve been ‘courting’ for two and a half years (I did say there was elbow grease) is finally on go – a wonderful piece of the globe, populated by passionate, beautiful people whom I am honoured to support in their evolution and development around the wellness and tourism industries. More to come on that and sure to be a very revelatory journey.

And the Piece de Resistance;  I organised a little rendezvous for my fellow IINers in the UK (that’s those taking the same health and wellness coaching course as I am through the Institute of Integrative  Nutrition) we met at Titbits in Heddon Street – a fab veggie/vegan restaurant just off Regent Street. Tibits.jpgIt is such a tonic to be around like minds, hear everyone’s stories and know there is such robust and genuine support for each other amongst this wonderful group. It was a ‘live the learning’ kind of day, none of us had ever met before, a large scale blind date if you will and very likely, the makings of some strong friendships.

Circling back to capture the essence of the whole week, one of the attendees at the wellness tourism breakfast – a very high level businessman  – was speaking about the language required to speak to consumers about the advantages and benefits of wellness and wellness tourism  He said “…it’s got to be about hearts and minds, it must be relevant…”  Isn’t that the truth of every single opportunity or pursuit for endorsement anyone has ever gone after? Finding the right language, tone and why it matters to that person is the key to the door… politicians, consumers, tour operators and business owners. Capturing their hearts and minds can often be a greater allure than even the most seductive of economic gain.