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Wellness Travel finds new niche

Baby Boomers are fuelling a new demand in travel.  In their drive to embrace an active and balanced lifestyle, this well-heeled market sector is looking to travel suppliers to develop adventures that combine physical fitness, healthy lifestyle activities, local culture and spiritual healing.  This new category has been defined as “wellness travel” or “wellness tourism.”

This market is by no means one to be taken lightly. According to the Travel Industry Association, Baby Boomers (age 35 to 54) generate more travel than any other age group in the U.S., while mature travelers (age 55+) account for almost one-third of all household trips. They are also the most affluent group, with 44 percent having an annual income of $75,000 or more. Combine the love for travel with disposable income and the natural result is that Baby Boomers spend more on their trips than other groups.

This phenomenon is matched by an insatiable quest for wellness, which has led to the rapid growth of the wellness travel sector. Many researchers are predicting that wellness vacations will increase four-fold or even more before the end of this decade.

The wellness vacation is evolving to meet the growing trend. The concept of the meditative retreat with alternative therapies to the decadent pampering spa experience has now evolved into holistic adventures that include an array of activities to stimulate the mind, body and soul. New tour offerings from companies such as Well Traveled Tours for example, offer up a heady combination of gourmet meals, luxurious spa facilities, yoga on the beach, jungle treks, native rituals and educational activities in exotic locations around the world - planned and hosted by some of the world’s leading travel writers.

Betty Alexander, president of Well Traveled Tours can discuss the growing trends in wellness and wellness vacations. What is it that today’s travelers are seeking that they weren’t before and why? How are tour operators differentiating themselves to meet the Baby Boomers’ demands - and what are the elements that make up the ultimate wellness travel experience?