With greater numbers of Brits embracing a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise the tourism trends for 2020 and beyond are all about wellness tourism. Wellness retreats and fitness-based trips are an increasingly popular choice for holiday-goers looking to de-stress, rejuvenate, get inspired or achieve weight loss.
Experts from the diverse range of travel companies exhibiting and some of the expert speakers from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the UK’s leading and longest-running travel event, have shared their recommendations.
Here’s their pick of what’s happening across tourism trends now.
Talking tourism trends 2020
Lares and Inca Trail Trek
Michael Witt from Kusa Treks, tells us that as far as tourism trends go:
“We offer a variety of fitness-based itineraries that enable our clients to improve their physical strength while also giving back to the communities of Peru.
An example of this is our Lares and Inca Trail Trek, which combines two incredible hikes into one. The Lares Trek takes visitors to remote villages in the Andes where they will hike 15 miles over two days, reaching an altitude of 15,000 ft!
You’ll then have the opportunity to donate school supplies and toys to local villages where they will share meals and play games.
The third day is spent hiking 8 miles on the world-famous Inca Trail, during the hike, our guide leads everyone on a trail restoration project.
Finally, on Day 4, the group will reach Machu Picchu, where holidaymakers will have a professionally guided tour of one of the World Wonders.”
Sacred Valley Yoga Retreat
Michael Witt continues:
“This trip offers an escape to a beautiful lodge deep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the lodge visitors are led by professional instructors through various yoga and fitness classes during their stay. In between classes clients can choose from various “volunteer” activities that benefit the surrounding area and communities, or they can choose to take short tours of the surrounding area.
These tours include horseback riding, paragliding, ATV tours, day hikes and more. Throughout the trip, fabulous meals are served with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks and supplements to help aid fitness.”
SwaSwara in Gokarana
Vimal Matthew, Head of Operations at Authentic India Tours, says:
“The SwaSwara in Gokarana wellness retreat is located on the pristine Om Beach.
Crafted in colours of the Earth, and in harmony with the land that nurtures her, SwaSwara is designed for holistic and transformational experiences; a space where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga embrace you to rejuvenate body and spirit.
The programmes here blend the healing powers of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and art to offer a rejuvenating holiday experience.
The goal is to offer a life plan for the ‘reconstruction’ of mind and body to bring about balance and harmony within.”
Vimal Matthew continues:
“Kalari Kovilakom is located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of Kerala by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges. The 200-year-old palace of Ayurveda is certified and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH) so that history meets natural tranquillity.
The treatments provided are strictly according to the tenets of ancient Ayurveda. CGH Earth took over the reins of this palace and converted it into a traditional Ayurvedic healing facility, while keeping its historic legacy intact.
Kalari Kovilakom is set within the palace grounds of the old Vengunad kingdom and offers 19 well-appointed suites with modern amenities and a clinic with 12 treatment rooms. The living spaces and gardens here complement the healing process, with their nurturing and warm environment.”
Linda Harris at Scott Dunn, says of upcoming tourism trends:
“An increasing demand for alternative and boundary pushing wellness practices sees Scott Dunn offering tailormade tours to lesser-known parts of Finnish and Swedish Lapland.
Arctic Cocooning sees guests become immersed in the Finnish Forests, wrapped in an insulated cocoon and soothed by the gentle swaying of the trees and pure Arctic air. A specialist guide takes guests through mindful breathing practices that leave them feeling de-stressed and motivated.”
Linda Harris adds:
“In Swedish Lapland, Scott Dunn will feature the highly anticipated Arctic Bath hotel.
Set within an extraordinary timber structure, which floats in the middle of the Lule River, guests will experience Arctic Wellness rituals with a giant ice-bath at its core. Guest activities will be tailored to explore the pristine natural surroundings under the Northern Lights.”
Exodus Walking and Cycling Holidays
Jenny Cox, Product Manager at Exodus, says:
“Exploring destinations under your own steam, on foot or by pedal power is not only low impact on the environment but it enables you to escape the crowds and reach places where vehicles can’t.
On a walking holiday you can venture where there are no roads and often limited signs of civilisation. Breathe in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world, and take in the natural beauty of the landscapes around you. It may sound like an oxymoron but I always find active holidays more restful: think ‘active body, restful mind’.
After burning all those calories in the great outdoors you’ll be sure to have a contented night’s sleep.
At Exodus Travels, we offer walking and trekking holidays across the globe at a range of activity levels, so whatever your budget or fitness level, there’s a trip for you.
Enjoy home-made picnics on our week-long Walking in Mallorca Holiday, sleep under star-strewn skies in Jordan on our Petra & Wadi Rum Desert Trek, camp in Central Asia’s celestial mountains on our Challenging Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, or take on a summit and lay your claim to the ‘roof of Africa’ on one of our Kilimanjaro climbing routes!”
Caribbean Island Walking – Dominica
Caroline Phillips, Product Manager for Walking & Trekking at Explore Travels, says:
“Discover the rainforests, mountains and hot springs of the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island’ on this unique trip. Hike to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest hot springs, swim in Middleham Falls and walk the Syndicate nature trail.
Explore’s first walking tour in the Caribbean, this trip covers most of the island, taking in coastlines, volcanoes and colourful hillside houses.”
My parents were explorers – avid travellers who were among the original backpackers. They were contemporaries of the Wheelers (founders of Lonely Planet). Although explored varying routes right throughout Africa, South America and Asia. In the ’70s, my parents scored jobs with Encounter Overland (EO), one of the early companies to specialise in international and off-the-beaten-track adventure travel.
EO’s HQ was based in London, although my parents joined the party in South Africa. It doesn’t exist now, but there are plenty of people who had great adventures (or misadventures) on board EO’s famous overlander trucks during its operational period (late ’60s to late ’90s as far as I understand).
Two of the trips my dad, John, and mum, June, embarked upon were some of the very first to mark the Encounter Overland trails through Africa and South America, and would subsequently determine the itinerary for future expeditions.
Travel adventures: Encounter Overland
On Googling “Encounter Overland” I discovered blogs from travellers who toured with EO, and a couple mention “disasters” like dirt flying up at them on the trucks, or getting bogged. These are not disasters. Nearly being thrown in jail as an innocent is. Being held up at gunpoint at border crossings, trapped below landslides, or stalked by rhinoceros’ when you’ve been deliberately left at a camp in the middle of nowhere in Africa, these are “disasters”. And just a tiny insight into the many enthralling stories shared with me as I grew up.
I can confidently say however, that I don’t think anyone on board would trade the experiences – even the scary ones (well, maybe they would trade the examples I’ve mentioned above, but I hope you see my point). In the end, it’s travel – a life-changing adventure.
Some of the places these crews visited 40 odd years ago aren’t even accessible to the average traveller now. Pretty amazing.
I appreciate that EO is in the hearts of many the world over, because of the friends made on these tours – through good, bad, terrifying and exhilarating times. The intriguing local people met, and remote, wonderful, awe-inspiring sights witnessed too, are a reward that lasts a lifetime, and a reason we continue to pursue travel and associated experiences to this day.
For as long as my brother and I can remember, we thought images to accompany our parents’ travel tales hadn’t survived years of humid tropical North Queensland summers.
Fortunately mum has diaries, a good memory and the ability to tell an engaging yarn, so our imaginations did the rest. I’d say these stories mark the origins of my personal interest in travel and adventure.
Recently though, some photos (slides, actually), were discovered by my parents, and for the first time in my lifetime – thanks to modern photo technology accessible at home – we’ve been able to view these images which could be scanned into a computer and colour-corrected (we used PaintShop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Picasa and SnapSeed).
Here are some of my favourites from the Vintage Travel Photography Encounter Overland Adventures collection.
A few are a little marked but it adds to their character, don’t you think?
And if you were part of the crew or you’re a little nostalgic for all that was, you can connect here with others who are keeping the spirit of EO alive. Drop us a line in the comments, and you will want to take a look at Lance Thomas’ site about Encounter Overland.
As always, I’d love to hear from you – please do drop me a line in the comments below.
Another day, another guest interview, and tonight I’m excited to offer some insights into one that is definitely on my own ‘to do’ list, PERU. Simply *amazing*.
Name: Kim Shields
What’s so cool about this place? Peru is filled with amazing scenery, people and wildlife. Every town and city has an interesting history to tell. My husband and I travelled with Intrepid on the Highlights of Peru trip. It took us from the city of Lima to Pisco, the Nazca, Araquipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, Picchu, Aguas Calientes and the Amazon Jungle.
Why did you decide to go? Peru seemed to offer everything we wanted in a trip. I love the outdoors, love wildlife and love seeing places that are so different from what we have here in Australia. It had the right mix.
Favourite part/experiences of your trip? The trek to Maccha Pichu was the major highlight. Parts of it were hard but I love something that is physically challenging and the reward at the end was worth it. The Amazon Basin was also amazing to see. There is such a vast array of wildlife and magnificent trees that are centuries old. Lake Titicaca was also special. When you see what people can build out of reeds from the lake it blows your mind. With Intrepid we were able to have a homestay with one of the local rural families that reside at Lake Titicaca. They are extremely hard workers and life remains simple and uncomplicated for them. We were treated to a village dance in which we were to dress in the local costumes and also a fantastic game of soccer against the local villagers.
How did you get around? After flying into Lima via Santiago the majority of movement was by bus. Some were big buses and some were small. You can expect that not all buses will be in the best of condition. We had an overnight trip on one where the toilet door wasn’t staying shut and the foulest of smells wafted through the back of the bus. We took a very short flight (filled with many air pockets) from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then back to Lima after returning from the Amazon Jungle. We travelled by boat down the Amazon River to our destination. This was a great way to see the wildlife and surrounds.
What would you recommend other people do? We went sand-boarding in Huacachina, outside Araquipa, and it was fantastic. You arrive at a road-side restaurant with little sand in view. They then whisk you up and over the nearby hill in a sand buggy and it opens up onto this amazing expanse of rolling sand hills. The buggy weaves up and down the sides at great speeds giving all on board a thrilling ride. The board riding is fantastic. I recommend forgetting the trying to stand part (unless you’re a pro) and lying down on the board head first. This was lots of fun. There is also a flashy looking Italian restaurant just off the square in Cuzco that offered a nice break from the local cuisine.
Any accommodation you would recommend? We had no problems at all with any of the accommodation that we stayed in. It was all prearranged by Intrepid and whilst not luxury you know that you will have somewhere to stay that meets the standards of the company and most that travel with them.
Anything you didn’t like about this travel destination? The bus trips are long between the destinations but there is little chance of avoiding this if you want to see all that Peru has to offer. There were parts of the west coast that I would not bother with seeing if I had the trip over again.
An insider’s tip based on your travel experience to this destination? We were lucky but I have heard many stories of people getting gastro on the trek to Macchu Picchu. Be careful with what you consume and hit the chemist for all the electrolytes and gastro stop before you go. You may be unlucky enough to get altitude sickness, especially if you fly straight into the high country. There are apparently some medications you can take but the locals will also advise coca tea which seems to work.
What’s your number one travel tip? Always research the country you are going to. While the world is a wonderful place to explore you need to know where to go and where not to, and how to fit in when you get there.
And your next (ideal) travel destination? I am looking forward to a ski holiday, Canada or Europe.
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper, and here we share our advice and stories about expat living in the UK; pet and house sitting around the world; wellness travel and creative living, no matter where on the planet you are. We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for 20 years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. We hope you find value in our content. Please do connect by leaving a comment or find us on social media.