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Did you know that wellness tourism grew twice as fast as tourism overall in recent years and, in 2018, was forecast to grow to a $919B USD market by 2022? In fact, wellness travel has been on the rise for close to a decade and the pandemic is expected to further accelerate traveler interest.

With the goal of education and enabling travel advisors to serve this growing market, The Travel Institute and the Wellness Tourism Association have released a newly created Wellness Travel Specialist Course.  

“For a great and growing number of consumers, achieving and maintaining good health while at home or traveling is now a top priority. Some want to incorporate already-established wellness practices into a travel itinerary while others want to plan a trip where the focus is on learning how to completely reset or improving healthy habits,” explained Anne Dimon, president and CEO, Wellness Tourism Association, in a statement.

A long-time industry veteran who has been writing and speaking on wellness travel since the early 2000s, Dimon co-authored the new course working with The Travel Institute’s curriculum team for nearly a year.

Dimon also points out the scope of this market has evolved with wide appeal across all traveler price points and preferences today. “Recognizing wellness is more of a mindset than a price point,” she explained, “wellness travel can be a high-end spa facility or, just as easily, a moderately priced property with access to healthy food options plus nearby biking, hiking or other fitness activities.”

Agents taking the course will gain both practical information on wellness travel terminology, trends, buyer profiles and a wide range of wellness products, as well as actionable advice from industry insiders on making wellness travel a successful business segment for agents. “This course is truly an A-Z, start-to-finish resource for agents,” remarked Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of training for The Travel Institute, in a statement. Botelho emphasized that along with the practical information agents gain, “The real differentiator for this course is the specific, how-to, implementable business planning steps around sales, marketing, branding, and more. This course actually guides agents in applying their new knowledge to achieve traveler bookings and that will be a game changer for many who want to tap into this market.”

Combining subject matter expertise and education know-how, the course also incorporates tips from senior wellness travel advisors, insight from industry suppliers, and best-practice training content and tools from The Travel Institute, delivered utilizing its interactive e-learning platform.

For Dimon, The Travel Institute’s comprehensive course represents a turning point for the decades-old wellness travel segment and a jumpstart for agents wanting to serve evolving traveler needs. “The industry is slowly and smartly recovering. At the same time, travelers are more mindful than ever about their health. This wellness travel course couldn’t come at a better time for agents who are inevitably going to need to know how to serve them.”

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. Travel advisors who complete the course are eligible for a discount on WTA membership. The new wellness travel specialist course will also be available at no additional charge for The Travel Institute’s Premium Access subscription members.