The wellness resort is the new destination spa: WTA introduces glossary of industry terms
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The wellness resort is the new destination spa: WTA introduces glossary of industry terms

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Fulfilling one of its first objectives, the newly founded wellness+Tourism+Association'>Wellness Tourism Association has created a WTA Glossary of Industry Terms designed to become the basis for common understanding and further define and establish standards for the growing global wellness tourism industry.

The Glossary currently consists of the following eight terms: Wellness destination, Wellness Tourism, Wellness Travel, Wellness Traveler, Wellness Resort, Wellness Retreat, Wellness Vacation and Wellness Visitor, and new terms will be added as the industry continues to evolve.

“The definitions have taken considerable time and thoughtful debate among the WTA Board of Directors,” said Andrew Gibson, WTA chair and Accor Hotels vice president of wellbeing. “We feel the terms will provide clarification and benefits not only to our members, but to anyone with an interest in the wellness tourism industry.”

One of the more noteworthy terms of the new WTA Glossary is Wellness Resorts, which will replace, for the purposes of the WTA, the Destination spa category.

“The Destination Spa category had its day as a ‘one-size fits all’ qualifier, but it never truly defined integrative spas with offerings far beyond standard treatments,” said Thomas Klein, Canyon Ranch president and COO.

Klein said at at Canyon Ranch, for instance, the term Wellness Resort “is much more aligned with our philosophy because wellness is not an amenity, an afterthought or trend – it’s our focus.

“A true Wellness Resort is more than just a place to relax and shed a few pounds; it is a place to make transformative life changes that last well beyond the vacation,” he continued.

The use of the term “Destination” has been re-purposed to Wellness Destination, to identify a geographic region with a strategic approach to develop and market its wellness-related assets.

The WTA has also introduced the term ‘Wellness Visitor’ to distinguish between the “primary” and “secondary” wellness travelers as identified by the Global Wellness Institute.

The WTA Glossary of Industry Terms is as follows:

Wellness Tourism

A specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and activities primarily focused on serving the Wellness Traveler and those who want to be.

Wellness Travel

Travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing.

Wellness Traveler

Often referred to as the “primary wellness traveler,” an individual who makes wellness the primary purpose of their travels.

Wellness Visitor

Often referred to as the ‘secondary wellness traveller’, an individual who works elements of wellness into their travels for business or pleasure.

Wellness Vacation/Holiday

Wellness Vacation / Holiday is Wellness Travel powered by a wellness-focused intention. Wellness Vacations/Holidays are typically self-directed with the traveler setting his or her own timetable and schedule. They may also include a Wellness Retreat.

Wellness Retreat

A guided, intention-driven, multi-day programme with a set or semi-set schedule, and hosted by one or more facilitators. The programme may include learning and lifestyle workshops such as meditation and healthy eating, as well as fitness activities such as yoga, nature walks and hiking.

Wellness Resort (also referred to as a Wellness Sanctuary or Wellness Clinic in some parts of the world)

Any facility with accommodations and a range of hospitality services where the primary purpose is to provide programs and experiences for the Wellness Traveler. The Wellness Resort is comprised of four primary elements: accommodations, a variety of wellness activities, healthy dining options and wellness-related facilities.

Wellness Destination

A geographical area that fosters and promotes wellness as an integral part of life within the community and economics of the region.

“We are thankful and appreciative of our industry colleagues for their input, encouragement and support, and we look to the global wellness tourism community at large to embrace the definitions,” said Gibson.

Susie Ellis, Global Wellness Institute chair and CEO, said the GWI applaud's the formation of the WTA. “It makes total sense to have a dedicated global association that represents this fast-growing and fast-evolving travel segment,” she said.

Registered as a non-profit in the State of Colorado, the Wellness Tourism Association is working to support and further the growth and development of the wellness tourism industry through networking, education, communication and marketing.

Founding members are Accor Hotels, Art of Living Retreat Center, Canyon Ranch, the Monaco Government Tourist Office and TraveltoWellness.com. Unicomm is a founding partner.

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Fulfilling one of its first objectives, the newly founded Wellness Tourism Association has created a WTA Glossary of Industry Terms designed to become the basis for common understanding and further define and establish standards for the growing global wellness tourism industry.
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