Doctor’s orders – wellness on tap at World Travel Market and Luxury Travel Fair
I have to admit upfront to an unashamed plug for Zening Resorts in Cyprus in this video. I have no affiliation with the company, but have visited there twice. Each time I have come away the richer. The brainchild of Ajay Goyal (Google him – he’s a good guy and cracking publisher and journalist), Zening was five years in the making, and came into being after extensive research, where he travelled to 12 countries over five years.
The eco-friendly destination is a sustainable and holistic holiday resort located across from the Latchi Harbour in Chrysochous Bay, Paphos, Cyprus. It comprises 145 luxury cottages and offers yoga, meditation, detox, spa treatments, and a variety of workshops. Condé Nast Traveller named it one of Europe’s leading wellness resorts.
I landed there pretty beaten up in August 2013, and again a year later, just simply tired. Both times I had powerfully moving experiences, made some wonderful friends (although I travelled there alone), and – yes – laughed a lot. What’s on offer there is a path to self awareness and inner joy if you want it. Or simply a divinely relaxing spa break if you’d prefer something less taxing.
I bumped into Ajay at the World Travel Market at London’s Excel Arena, where Spafinder introduced the first wellness awards, with companies like Healthy Hotels. It’s catching on…
The Conde Naste Luxury Travel Fair took place at Olympia a few days later. The fair brings together the best of the best in the luxury tourism industry. Showcasing the most luxurious and high-end travel experiences from all corners of the globe, the fair is perfect for discerning and aspiring travellers looking to discover secret and untouched destinations. It showcases more than 85 hand-picked travel brands, including luxury resorts, undiscovered boutique hotels, and bespoke luxury tour operators will present their latest, most lavish and exclusive offerings alongside new ideas for trips – “from the transparent turquoise waters of the Maldives to the mesmerising northern lights of Iceland.” There were several spas and wellness offerings present on the floor. We’re already booked to go and see the Villa Marina Capri and Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui in Thailand at some point. Wellness is here to stay. Prudence Patterson of Cleveland Travel explains why in the film.
If spas tend to attract women, authenticity is the order of the day it would seem for men, too. And cycling is the new golf for Mamils (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). Mark Thomsen, marketing manager of Trek Travel said: ““Travellers crave authentic experiences filled with activities not possible at home. Cycling tourism allows travellers to get a unique sense of the destination.”
Michelle Duffy, DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co agreed, adding: “We foresee more demand for high performance trips where training and nutrition tips are integral to the experience. Also, combining bike travel with other active pursuits, like kayaking and hiking, will be essential to keep the experience fresh and to attract new active travellers.”
Another key trend to watch out for is wearable internet-connected devices, which are expected to rise from 9 million units sold globally in 2013 to a forecast 180 million in 2016. This was evident at the NBAA 2014 show with new offerings to connect users to cabin management systems on board business jets. Products include Sony SmartWatch, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Google Glass. Apple Watch will go on sale from early 2015 and is expected to take this sector by storm, as other Apple products have done for smartphones and tablets.
Expedia has already released an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch, and is working on one for Google Glass, both focusing on notifications for travellers. The Qunar app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear is mainly focused on customer service but it does also have booking functionalities, in particular for last-minute hotel deals. The Starwood app for Google Glass allows bookings and provides directions to get to the hotel when at the destination. It will be possible to use Apple Watch as a room key in Starwood hotels. Iberia, Vueling and Air Berlin announced that their passengers will be able to download boarding passes directly onto their wearable devices.
Lastly I had a lovely surprise at WTM when Oman Air awarded me with its ‘Best article about Oman Air’ and ‘Best overall article’ prizes at the inaugural Oman Air UK Media Awards. The award-winning article, which featured in Inflight magazine, titled ‘An auspicious Oman’ focused on Oman Air’s ‘transformation from a small regional airline into a multi-award-winning force to be reckoned with,’ through becoming ‘the first carrier in the world to offer both in-flight mobile phone and in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity.’ Thanks to Matt Grainger and Nicky Brown of Black Sheep PR for alerting me.
Mohammed Al Shikely, Oman Air’s general manager of marketing and special guest Her Excellency, Maitha Al Mahrouqi presented me with the award, which is still making me smile. Thank you so much!