Wellness travel is developing faster than other segments of tourism, with the global industry expected to bring in more than US$1.1 billion by 2025, according to a 2021 report by the Global Wellness Institute.
“The growing popularity of wellness travel says a lot about how people are choosing to go on holiday,” says Debbie-Lee Cockrell, General Manager at Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa in Somerset West.
“No doubt accelerated by the pandemic, more travellers are putting their physical and mental wellbeing at the forefront of their travel choices, using that much-needed time away to nurture a healthier relationship with themselves and the world around them.”
As it turns out, holidays aren’t just nice to have. According to the World Health Organization, they’re a must when it comes to taking care of both our physical health and mental wellbeing.
“With the digital age in full throttle, breaking away somewhere new allows us to better manage stress and information overload,” Debbie-Lee adds, as she outlines a few wellness experiences travellers can tap into during their next local holiday:
Don’t skip the spa day
Although wellness travel extends well beyond massages and beauty treatments, Debbie-Lee says no-one should ever skip a spa day if there’s one on offer!
“Erinvale’s Lurra Spa is a relaxing space where guests can decompress and feel cared for,” she explains. “A little bit of pampering can help us feel valued, nourished and restored. Even the little things like a mini facial or beard trim can help us give us a lift – while time spent in the steam room or heated pool can melt away stress, getting one’s holiday off to a great start!”
Eat, pray, love… and eat some more
Over the years, travellers have also shown a keen interest in re-discovering and appreciating local cuisine, which ties heavily into another trend connected to wellness travel – culinary tourism.
“Food is an extension of culture, and sampling a few local dishes prepared with local, seasonal ingredients allows one to deepen their connection to the destinations they visit,” Debbie-Lee explains – and Executive Chef of Stefan’s restaurant, Chef Stefan Bekker, agrees.
“We find inspiration in our surroundings and culture, but like to include a creative twist each time. We want to ensure our guests feel at home, and express our gratitude to our guests by serving the best food from our hearts. We are always adapting and shedding our skin each season – staring a new journey with new ingredients to inspire us all over again.”
Medicine cures. Nature heals.
Recent research from Cornell University shows that spending just 10 minutes connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels and help us feel happier.
“Nature provides more than just a pretty view or a breathtaking photo to share,” Debbie-Lee adds. “Being close to nature whilst on holiday has incredible healing and restorative benefits. It’s one of the primary reasons we encourage guests to head outdoors into the fresh mountain air, even if it’s just for a sundowner at sunset.”
Get active on holiday
Annual holidays with exercise and outdoor or ‘green’ activities incorporated into the itinerary prove an effective strategy for maintaining one’s physical health and wellness.
“Heading to your regular spot where you can walk, bike, swim and play with your family, or tee off on the golf course is a simple, yet healthy step in the right direction to finding motivation to get up and move,” says Debbie-Lee.
“It’s why our guests love exploring the ‘Heart of the Helderberg’. From Lourensford’s bike trails to hiking in the Helderberg Nature Reserve, it ticks all the right boxes for guests looking to stay active, pick up a new sports hobby or revisit an old one whilst exploring somewhere new.”
With wellness travel on the rise, Debbie-Lee explains that we’re expecting to see more holiday options geared towards maintaining our mental and physical wellbeing.
“Sometimes, all we need is to be able to throw a bag in the boot and hit the road in the direction of your happy place — an easy to reach holiday haven, where you can bump into friendly locals, forge happy memories, and indulge in some good old-fashioned peace and quiet,” she concludes.