The Travel Institute and Wellness Tourism Association have released the 2nd edition Wellness Travel Specialist course, revised to further enable agent success amidst the continuing evolution of wellness travel and increased traveler demand in today’s expanding market segment focused on incorporating wellness and travel.
On the rise for the last decade, consumer interest in wellness travel has accelerated post-pandemic with greater traveler focus on either maintaining good health or launching a pathway to better health. The Global Wellness Institute predicts a 21% annual growth rate, expanding the sector to an over $1 trillion market by 2024.1 Some travelers look to incorporate already-established wellness habits into their travel itineraries while others want their travel itinerary to help them refocus on their health. From nature-based options to more personalized and intention-based programs, from full body cleanses and digital detoxes to farm-to-table culinary experiences to sleep better retreats and other purposeful travel options, wellness itineraries have become popular not only amongst individual travelers but also amongst corporate groups looking to incorporate wellness elements into employee meetings and executive retreats.
“Wellness traveler trends will come and go but the concept of wellness travel is here to stay. For agents willing to take the time to understand wellness travel to grow their business, the sky’s truly the limit,” said Guida Botelho, CTIE, senior director of training for The Travel Institute.
The affordable course offers the market and provides specific, implementable business advice and tools including strategic business planning, brand development, and sales lead generation along with practical information on wellness travel terminology, current trends, buyer profiles and a wide range of wellness travel products. Students also benefit with tips from senior wellness travel advisors, insight from industry suppliers, and best-practice training content and tools, all delivered utilizing The Travel Institute’s interactive e-learning platform.
Course co-author Anne Dimon, president and chief executive officer of the Wellness Tourism Association, WTA, is a long-time industry veteran who has been writing and speaking on wellness travel since the early 2000s. Dimon believes that as wellness travel continues to grow, more agents will inevitably need to know how to serve the market. “The agent role is critical in ensuring success for the wellness-minded traveler,” she says. “Certainly, there are countless options for wellness travel and many aspects driving market demand, however, the wellness travel market’s ultimate success hinges on travelers connecting with knowledgeable agents who can take a traveler’s vision and find the right-fit wellness solution they hope for,” she emphasized.
Today, wellness travel offers wide appeal and options across all traveler price points and preferences from moderately-priced properties with access to nearby parks and healthy eating options, to high-end, exclusive properties, offering private itineraries and a personalized healthful experience. Just one example, the course includes the expertise of a medical doctor who is also a CBD specialist advising agents on how to ensure wellness-focused properties offering access to cannabis are doing so without compromising guest health and safety.
The course is again buoyed by the support of highly regarded industry stakeholders including Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, BodyHoliday Saint Lucia, Canyon Ranch, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence Lake Lucerne, and International Medical Group (IMG).
First launched in 2021, the 2nd edition Wellness Travel Specialist course also incorporates the results of the WTA’s 2022 Wellness Travel Consumer Survey, a 3-month online survey of nearly 1,500 consumers resulting in updated statistics on demographics; top wellness travel goals, intentions and motivations; and top wellness travel “must haves.” New insights from WTA members and other industry leaders are also included in the new edition.
The market expertise provided by Dimon and other wellness experts, The Travel Institute’s education “know-how” as a non-profit and the industry’s gold standard focused on affordable, quality education; and the support of industry-leading sponsors has proved to be a winning combination already. “Ultimately, our Wellness Travel Specialist course has been well received and we’ve only made it better through the 2nd edition, providing agents with new insights and timely tips to ensure they understand wellness travel today AND that they are equipped with the skills they need to succeed,” Botelho beamed, sharing recent student feedback:
- “The curriculum for the Wellness Travel Specialist course is in-depth and extensive, giving me the tools I need to differentiate myself as a true Wellness Travel Specialist in a fast-growing, global market.” –Celene Lucas, CTA, Certified Wellness Travel Advisor
- “The Wellness Travel Specialist course is a great tool! It reaffirms my knowledge as someone working in wellness travel for more than a decade; provides a legitimate certificate to share with colleagues, suppliers, clients and potential clients; and keeps me mindful of best business practices now for this ever-growing niche travel market.” –Deborah Peniuk, Certified Wellness Travel Advisor
Students who successfully complete the Wellness Travel Specialist course, pass their online exam and submit the experiential checklist earn standing as a Certified Wellness Travel Specialist and, as applicable, continuing education units, or CEUs, toward maintaining certification from The Travel Institute. Both designations are used by agents to further market experience and expertise as a travel professional. Travel agents who complete the course are also eligible for a discount on WTA membership and the opportunity to be promoted to consumers via TravelToWellness.com, a WTA media partner. The new Wellness Travel Specialist course is also available, as usual, at no additional charge for The Travel Institute’s Premium Access subscription members.