· Spain has pioneering destinations in mindful travel such as Costa Brava Pirineu (Girona), Costa Cálida (Region of Murcia), Andalusia and La Ribeira Sacra (Galicia).
Ostelea Tourism Management School, Dr. Sheila Sánchez, researcher and teacher at Ostelea, has carried out a study coordinated by the Center for Tourism Research, Dissemination and Innovation (IDITUR) in collaboration with Mindful Travel Destinations. The report, titled “Mindful (ness) and tourism: taking care of ourselves”, addresses the benefits of mindfulness in the tourism sector and the opportunities for transformative travel known as mindful travels.
In the context of western economies marked by prosperity and increased life expectancy, there are also high levels of stress, a biological mechanism that arises from the reaction of the human body to threats from the environment. This is the seed of concern for the health and growth of the wellness industry market both in the workplace and in the tourism sector.RELATED
The increasing interest of travelers in the search for experiences and destinations related to health and well-being is currently reaffirmed with the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why, for the third consecutive year, Ostelea Tourism Management School has produced this report on tourism and health focused on two areas directly linked to the message “take care of ourselves to heal ourselves”. This expression brings together two aspects: travel related to the formal practice of mindfulness and, secondly, the so-called mindful travel.
THE MINDFULNESS IN THE TOURISM SECTOR
The word mindfulness refers to the practice of being aware of the body and its thoughts and emotions in the present moment. This involves two aspects: being aware of the experience that is being lived and maintaining a beginner’s attitude based on interest and curiosity. For this, two options are proposed: a formal practice, through exercises and techniques that are carried out during a specific period of time and a second non-formal variant that involves using mindfulness in daily activities.
Traveling for retreats and meditations is not something new. In fact, mindfulness-based meditation has its roots in eastern meditations, although it has been westernized and freed from its religious overtones. There is a range of programs around the world (India, the United States, France, Ireland, South Africa or Italy) and in national destinations such as Valencia, Cádiz, Toledo, Almería, Girona, Barcelona or Tenerife, among others. Many of these initiatives are based on mindfulness or stress reduction based on mindfulness.
MINDFUL TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
Jimmy Pons defines mindful travel or conscious travel as that tourist offer that seeks, on the one hand, the well-being of tourists, residents and workers of the destination, and on the other, the well-being of the planet and the specific environment in which the products are offered. and services. The Mindful Travel Destinations Association adds in its ifies Manifesto ’nuances related to transformative and sustainable tourism to focus on“ tourist destinations and experiences that seek the balance between physical well-being, emotional health and spiritual peace of travelers ”.
Mindful travel or conscious travel is an emerging segment clearly linked to health. Therefore, this reality forces the differentiation of the offer of companies and destinations that seek to differentiate themselves, incorporating a qualitative leap with respect to the most common experiences of wellness tourism and focusing on designing experiences that generate a positive change in the lives of the different actors (tourists, tourism professionals, residents, among others). In this sense, the IDITUR report explains that it is important to add logistical, planning and management elements. And this implies getting to know the tourist niche better.
In Spain there are already destinations that stand out for their mindful travel offer. Regions such as Costa Brava Pirineu (Girona), Costa Cálida (Region of Murcia), Andalusia and La Ribiera Sacra (Galicia) are pioneers in this regard. Next, there are emerging destinations in the Valencian Community, Gran Canaria, La Palma and Rias Baixas or Fragas do Eume (Galicia).
TOURIST PROFILE MINDFUL
The demand for mindful experiences and destinations is growing. The report prepared by Sheila Sánchez establishes a typology of tourists highlighting, in addition, that the actors who are able to detect the needs and trends of each of these profiles will be able to differentiate themselves in the sector. These four mindful tourists – experienced, curious, sporadic and improvised – have been classified taking into account the frequency of travel and their knowledge of the product.
Finally, the report analyzes medium-term perspectives such as the relationship between the increasing relevance of mental health and the increase in the offer of mindful travel, mainly based on technologies that promote mental health, inner peace, sleep and regulation. of emotions. In addition, he points out that the offer that includes nature as the main element of value will grow. Finally, it highlights that the improvement and improvement of the quality of the mindful travel offer requires elements such as specialized training and awareness, the development of statistics (uniform or specific) and, also, to strengthen relations with the public sector .
· Growth forecasts for the global wellness market by 2020 (compared to 2017): 38% in the workplace and 44% in the wellness tourism industry
· To position themselves in mindful travel, companies and destinations must make a qualitative leap and differentiate themselves by designing experiences that generate a factor of positive change in the life of the traveler
· There are 4 mindful travel tourist profiles taking into account the frequency of travel and their knowledge of the product: Experimentad @, Curios @, Esporádic @ and Improvisad @
· The trend in mindful travel offer will continue to grow in the medium term and will increasingly incorporate outdoor and nature experiences; it will also incorporate technologies that contribute to physical, mental and emotional well-being
· The improvement and improvement of the quality of the mindful travel offer requires specialized training, awareness-raising, uniform statistics and strengthening the relationship with the public sector