Health Travel Magazine - Digest 2024

Brits set to cast away lockdown blues with wellness holidays

After a challenging year for travel and tourism, industry professionals now anticipate a surge in domestic and international wellness holidays as restrictions ease from 17 May.

Enduring lockdown pressures and travel restrictions have taken a toll on the Nation’s mental and physical health. Public Health England (PHE) reported 29.5% of UK adults displayed clinically significant levels of physiological distress after the first lockdown in March 2020. Medical journals have warned of health implications as many struggle to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle whilst confined at home.

Luxury wellness travel provider, Health Travel, launched 2 April in response to the growing demand in wellness tourism. The company predicts 2021 to be ‘the year of reconnection’, with many UK holidaymakers seeking ways to reclaim their health and wellbeing through travel.

Company director Toby Watfa, comments: “We’re seeing an increased demand from our clients for more enriching and meaningful experiences. Many are asking where they can go to improve their fitness, or detox, or where can they simply escape to relax and meditate.

“Despite the dramatic hit on the travel industry, things are looking up, with travellers feeling greater confidence in booking international holidays later this year.

A recent YouGov poll has indicated almost a third of Brits have expressed intention to go abroad in 2021. One major airline has also reported a 337% surge in flight bookings following the Government’s Roadmap announcement, with a 630% daily growth in sales of holiday packages.

With many domestic stays now fully booked throughout this summer, UK travel providers urge holiday-seekers to plan further in advance to secure in-demand hotels. The Association of British Travel Agencies (ABTA) have expressed that many suppliers will soon reach capacity and it is expected that prices will continue to rise.

Health Travel is a sister brand of Bluebird Travel, a long-established luxury travel agency based in London. After the first lockdown, the company saw an increase in last-minute bookings for wellness retreats and fitness holidays among its British, European and Middle Eastern clients. Through the year, Bluebird Travel arranged retreats to a range of destinations including luxury yoga in Turkey, medical detoxes in Switzerland and fitness retreats in the Maldives.

Watfa continues: “Wellness travel is in demand now more than ever, particularly for those who have been confined in cities with little access to natural greenspace. The pandemic has reshaped our relationship with how we live and how we travel too. This prompted the launch of the new arm of our business – Health Travel.

“Holidaymakers nowadays want more than just time in the sun. They want rewarding experiences where they can feel inspired, learn something new and to truly connect with nature once again.”

Luxury wellness retreats in the UK