Trend: A More Intellectual Wellness Travel

Travelers now seek purpose, personal growth and new skill sets, so programming is moving beyond mindfulness to actually feed their thinking minds—from more citizen science programs to immersing people in the creative arts

Our 2022 trend, “Wellness Travel, Seekers Welcome,” argues that with social forces such as the “great resignation,” record retirements and global nomadism, people are now seeking travel experiences that tap into their sense of purpose, their desire to grow creatively and intellectually, and that make a real impact on the planet. Intention is the future of travel, and more travel destinations and companies are answering the call for what could be called a new “intellectual wellness”—whether the surge in citizen science programs or more destinations getting people writing, painting and immersed in all kinds of creative expression.

You could say that the first chapter in wellness was mostly “mindless” (the focus was physical fitness and beauty), the second chapter revolved around mindfulness, and a new chapter is emerging of experiences that respect and feed people’s intelligence and their growing quest for knowledge and personal growth. May is Mental Health Month, and while the mental wellness space has focused on stress-reduction and meditation, the wellness that comes from a life of intellectual growth (is there any true wellbeing without it?) has long been the missing piece. The future? Less wellness that requires magical thinking and more that sparks some actual thinking.
READ MORE for examples of the ways the trend is playing out in travel.

The Trend in the News

Expedition cruises put a new spin on luxury at sea (Forget infinity pools and couples’ massages, the newest luxury ships are all about scientific discovery)
The Washington Post

The new luxury ships aren’t about decadent pampering, they’re about scientific discovery. Rather than stopping at the usual crowded European and Caribbean ports, they’re taking guests—along with scientists, historians and naturalists—to places rarely visited by tourists, and attracting travelers who would have rejected cruising in the past. The expedition segment is now the fastest-growing segment of the cruise industry, with 45 new ships expected to be built between 2018-2023. Just one example of the new citizen-science-ships-at-sea: Seabourn’s first purpose-built expedition ship sails this July, and will take guests to the Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, South America, Antarctica and the Amazon—accompanied by a 26-person expedition team of scientists, historians, naturalists and wildlife experts—for immersive education and activism.

Travel’s trends for 2022: One is families seeking the edu-vacationThe New York Times

This article is more broadly about 2022 travel trends, and one key trend identified is the rise of edu-travel for kids. After two years of classroom closures, children have fallen behind in learning, and parents are eager for travel experiences that immerse them in a real-world education. Family Coppola Hideaways has launched the Coppola Curriculum at its Belize and Guatemala properties, where kids take courses in wilderness science and local art, while Black Tomato’s family-focused education track, Field Trip, includes physics lessons at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland and a social studies-focused hike through Bhutan’s Gangtey Valley to meet a revered monk. 

Forget space tourism, these citizen science trips make an impact right on earthNewsweek

Two pandemic awakenings: more people want to take concrete action to protect our planet and also to learn new skills. The boom in citizen science trips lets everyday travelers work hands-on alongside scientists on specific, research-intensive projects—from surveying elusive snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan to reintroducing the pangolin in South Africa.

Responsible and resilient: Intrepid Travel shows doing good is also good for businessForbes

Intrepid Travel is a pioneering purpose-led adventure travel brand and the world’s largest B Corp certified travel company. This is an interview with its CEO, James Thornton, on how doing good and giving people a new purpose and scientific and cultural education is good for business. Intrepid Travel has emerged from a tough pandemic renewing that mission: creating over 200 new global trips with a focus on wildlife and environmental conservation, preservation of indigenous and minority cultural traditions, gender equality and empowerment, as well as skills training and education.

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