Wellness tourism, one of the most in demand when it becomes pandemic

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To purpose of the celebration of the Global Wellness Day, this is the potential that Colombia has to offer tourist experiences of well-being that connected with nature and culture. Travelers will seek the well-being of themselves, residents, workers, and the planet.

The pandemic has left several reflections in the way how people travel, how to visit the destinations and tourist activities that develop. A study done by Ostelea (Tourism Management School of Spain) and the Centre for Research, Disclosure and Innovation Desk (Iditur) indicates that there has been a growing interest of travellers in search of destinations and experiences related to health and well-being, away from the crowds and looking for a travel aware of enjoying the here and now.

The offer of mindfulness in tourism

If not new, the fact of traveling with the purpose of conducting retreats, meditations and other activities that to a greater or lesser extent have a component of spirituality, it is logical that most often create or adapt tourism offerings that have meditation as the central axis of the attention as one of its main attractions. Another significant element of this type of offer is that since it is not a unique attraction of the “East”. The meditation based on mindfulness, although it has its roots in meditations oriental, can be said that it has been westernized and has no religious connotations.

In this regard, Sheila Sánchez Bergara, a professor of Ostelea, says that: “a large part of the specific bid of mindfulness, is based on the program of stress reduction based on mindfulness, known by its English acronym as MBSR. However, they can also be found as part of retreats, meditation sessions, extra services in hotels, resorts or spas or even, some airlines have incorporated as part of their entertainment content”.

Sánchez, added that the ‘mindful travel’ or travel conscious, in the opinion of Jimmy Pons, co-founder of Mindful Travel Destinations, makes reference to the tourist offer that aims, on the one hand, the welfare of the tourists, residents and workers of the destination, and on the other, the well-being of the planet and the specific environment in which you are offering the products and services.

(It may be of interest: the Combination between well-being and tourism, an alternative to recover the sector)

Wellness tourism in Colombia

Colombia becomes the ideal destination for the development of activities around well-being that can be very attractive to people all over the world who are looking for destinations that provide tourism experiences with a holistic approach, in a natural environment.

“Our country has a great potential for that travelers from all over the world come and enjoy experiences and treatments that help to provide balance mental, physical and spiritual to compensate for the effects that it has brought the pandemic. ProColombia has identified that the wellness tourism will be much more defendant, as they seek destinations that the tourists can connect with nature and we have this natural diversity as a feedstock main”, says Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.

For its part, Alejandra Millán, CEO of the Wellness Trip to Colombia, a company dedicated to offer tourist experiences focused on wellness tourism, explains that travelers looking to find places of authentic, natural, relaxed in addition to knowing experiences with communities and even are interested in doing hands-on activities that relax: “We offer activities such as crafts, spinning or weaving, exercises that relax, such as painting mandalas, activities that about also to the ancient cultures and peasant of our country,” says Millan.

In the country it is also possible to find activities such as retreats, yoga, hydrotherapy, ancestral rituals, holistic techniques, hiking, workshops of breathing, detoxification programs, even meditation with whales as it does the company of Millan, among many others.

The colombian regions that are highlighted by this type of tourism are the Cultural Coffee Landscape, Cundinamarca, Boyacá and Chocó, which have many sources of thermal water and to enjoy of great natural wealth.

The potential in Colombia

ProColombia conducted a study that surveyed people from Germany, united States, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and France, among others, in which it was found that the activities of well-being that most do tourists in Colombia focused on this product are traditional massages with local products and holistic programs, in addition to hiking, spa, massage and hot springs.

In addition, more than half of the travelers surveyed who came to the country by reason of well-being spent around USD $700. On the other hand, the cities with the most known in Colombia wellness travelers are Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. In addition, 42.5% of the respondents stay more than 11 nights and 29.3 % stays less than a week.

For tourists of well-being, the landscapes, the offers of new experiences in well-being and the quality of the service, are important when choosing a destination, in this sense, Colombia is a country competitive in this segment.

We also found that the culture and the friendliness of the people are the differentiating features of Colombia compared to other countries with a wide range of wellness tourism. And, on the other hand, for the tourists of well-being that have interest in traveling to Colombia, explained that the differential of the country lies in the culture, landscapes and nature.

Profiles of tourist well-being

Respect to the typology of products and services, the deal will expand gradually. Thus, it is possible to enjoy from the shinrin yoku (baths of the forest), a practice originating from Japan and which form part of the traditional medicine to gastronomic experiences such as the macrobiotic diet and flexivegana, so the programs usually include: short talks, experiential exercises, meditation, group discussion and practices in natural environments. There are options of plans between three and five days, which may include one or more of the services.

Profiles of this type of tourist are:

· The experienced: are people who consume these experiences every time they travel. They have a lot of sensitivity in topics of health and environmental protection. Has a vast knowledge about mindful travel.

· Curious: introduce these experiences in an increasingly regulate their travel. Their knowledge and information is based mainly on the experiences. Their curiosity leads them to try or incorporate new experiences.

· Sporadic: are travelers that consume these experiences in a timely manner. Looking to satisfy specific needs. Feature-specific information.

· Improvised: people who casually consume these trips. Lack of knowledge and information previous. You can take the service by chance during a tour without any prior information, we simply caught my attention.

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