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Airports, Airlines and Hotels: How Wellness Has Changed Travel.
Friday, 6th March 2015
Source : Katharina Wecker ~ Exclusive reports from ITB

Wellness is an approach to living and that’s why the travel industry is adapting to wellness needs, said Camille Hoheb, Founder and Managing Director of Wellness Tourism Worldwide at the ITB on Thursday; 

“Wellness has changed the way people travel and how savvy insiders have responded,” said Hoheb.

According to the founder of wellness consultancy Wellness Tourism Worldwide, not only hotels but also airports and airlines have responded to the well-being needs of their customers.

Airports " wellness starts at the start of the holiday

Airports are no longer part of the journey but have become a destination. “There is a renaissance at airports”, said Hoheb. “They are designed to be much more attractive, to make you feel more comfortable and to help you part with your money much more efficiently,” she added with a wink.

New airports are built with a load of glass using natural lightning with pictures of landscapes. The new international airport in Mexico City, which is expected to open in 2018, is one huge terminal building housed under camping class. Airports move towards more sustainability, they are much more energy efficient and a lot less materials are being used.

Catering has changed at airports. Airport food does “no longer mean awful packed stale sandwiches”, said Hoheb. Instead they offer more healthy choices, providing local and organic food, such as the farmers market at the Los Angeles airport.

The new wellness airports try to deliver the whole package from innovative architecture, healthy food and cultural experiences. Some airports host local artists, offer music performances or even workshops for calligraphy.

In Amsterdam you can visit an exhibition about the Royal Family while waiting for your flight. If the customer is rather into mediation than art, passengers at five airports across the US can find yoga rooms for a little pre-flight relaxation.

Airlines " wellness in the sky

Once in the air, passengers can continue their wellness experience as more and more airlines are discovering the needs of wellness-orientated customers, said Hoheb. There are self-guided manuals on mediation on board, fragrances to sooth and calm passengers, and special lights to create a more realistic daylight and night time atmosphere.

There is a trend towards seats that turn into flat beds, such as family couches at Air China, where three seats can be turned into a family bed. And for the luxury traveller, there are an increasing number of private bedrooms.

Time of bad airport food that tastes like nothing might be over too. Turkish Airlines and Gulf Air have now “sky chefs” on board. The food can be customized to personal taste and dietary preferences. And to intellectually stimulate the passengers, podcasts from university are available.  

Hotels " wellbeing at the forefront

Wellness is becoming a part of everything related to travel. But the final destination is still the hotels where the idea of well-being is ever evolving.

The issue of food has probably changed most. “There is the idea that food is medicine”, said Hoheb. Hotels pay more attention now to how the combination of foods increases the nutritional value of the meal. But the hotel’s approach is also that wellness includes indulgence. “It's okay to have that extra glass of wine at the end of the day”, explained Hoheb. The current wellness trend is made up of healthy snacks and guilt-free indulgence.

The well-being movement doesn’t stop at food. There are an increasing number of gyms in hotels, according to Hoheb, and in-room fitness where guests can have yoga mats or other sport equipment delivered to their room. Some hotels are preparing guides for walking and running paths in the local area. The idea is to allow guests to be balanced while travelling, including business trips. 

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