Travel with a new focus on wonder, awe and human connection could create more wellness travel experiences, according to a white paper the Global Wellness Institute released recently.
The white paper, titled ‘Travel and Wonder’, looks at how travel has been decimated during the pandemic and the significant psychological impacts of its loss.
It explains that while many people have been unable to travel, the human desire to roam the globe will remain strong and possibly intensify.
“The need to move freely, to explore, and to be stimulated by new and diverse experiences is primordial and is essential to our wellbeing,” the report explains.
One of the reasons that we yearn for travel is to experience wonder, awe and to satisfy a human need for connection, inspiration and transcendence.
According to the report, awe can be inspired by many things, including nature, beauty, personal achievements, threats (volcanic eruption, etc) and personal virtue.
“The feeling of awe can lead to a diminished sense of self, a realisation of the larger picture in which we are only a small part, and an increased sense of connection and empathy that enhances our wellbeing.
“The fact that the world’s hottest tourism spots include nature and the great outdoors, architectural wonders, masters’ works of art, sports events, music and theatre, and so on, tells us that we yearn for the opportunity for personal growth and transformation during our travels.”
The white paper suggests that in the post-COVID travel world people will be more inclined to steer away from mass tourism and crass consumerism, a trend that was already starting to take hold before the pandemic hit.
“In recent years, a growing number of travellers have pursued a more purposeful approach to travel, giving rise to niches like ecotourism, wellness tourism, cultural tourism, voluntourism, and geotourism.
“By asking ourselves why we wanted to travel in the first place – what experiences we desire and what we hope to learn from them – we can become more mindful and intentional when the world of travel opens up to us once again.
“Perhaps we will focus more on the quality of our experiences, rather than the number of trips we are taking. Perhaps we will discover that awe and wonder can come from our own curiosity and openness, rather than how exotic or popular the place is. Perhaps we will stop expecting to be entertained in a passive way and will take more initiative to engage with our destination and its people.”
Do you think people will steer away from mass tourism after we emerge from COVID-19? Will wellness travel be more important in the post-COVID world?
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