The Travel Institute and Wellness Tourism Association have released a new "Wellness Travel Specialist" course to enable travel advisors to meet the demands of a growing segment, focused on incorporating healthful elements into travel plans.
The appeal of wellness travel, which has been referred to as a “paradigm shift” in traveler preferences, has been on the rise for close to a decade with the pandemic expected to further accelerate traveler interest, according to a joint press release by the companies. Wellness tourism, the intersection of the tourism industry and the wellness market, grew twice as fast as tourism overall in recent years and, in 2018, was forecast to grow to a $919 billion market by 2022, it adds.
Anne Dimon, president and CEO, Wellness Tourism Association, in the press announcement, noted the scope of wellness travel has evolved with wide appeal across all traveler price points and preferences. “Recognizing wellness is more of a mindset than a price point,” she said. “Wellness travel can be a high-end spa facility or, just as easily, a moderately priced property with access to healthy food options, plus nearby biking, hiking or other fitness activities.”
Advisors taking the course will gain practical information on wellness travel terminology, trends, buyer profiles and a wide range of wellness products, as well as actionable advice from industry insiders on making wellness travel a successful business segment. Said Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of training for The Travel Institute: “The real differentiator for this course is the specific, how-to, implementable business planning steps around sales, marketing, branding and more.”
The course also incorporates tips from senior wellness travel advisors, insight from industry suppliers and best-practice training content and tools from The Travel Institute, delivered through its interactive e-learning platform. The course is buoyed by the support of highly regarded industry stakeholders, including BodyHoliday Saint Lucia, Canyon Ranch, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence Lake Lucerne, and travel insurer IMG.
Advisors who complete the Wellness Travel Specialist course, pass their online exam and submit the experiential checklist earn standing as a Certified Wellness Travel Specialist and, as applicable, continuing education units toward maintaining certification from The Travel Institute. Travel advisors who complete the course are eligible for a discount on Wellness Tourism Association membership.