There is, in my opinion, a common factor between quite a few of our features and interviews this month, and that’s wellness. Not just health and wellness of the physical kind, but that of mental well-being, all of which relates to the overall ‘health’, if you will, of your hotel’s P&L statement.

Over the last few months, medical and wellness tourism is a theme that Hotelier has focused on, and certainly heard about from the hoteliers and tourism boards we speak to. There have been advancements in this area, from tourism boards signing agreements to improve medical tourism facilities, to hotels upping their game in their wellness offerings.

The Fairmont The Palm, for example, has reinvented itself in the hopes of being seen as a wellness-oriented property, and with the roster of fitness classes and facilities it’s looking to offer, it’s doing just that. The community engagement it’s working on is also commendable; I personally think the idea of expanding guest profiles beyond your hotel guest, and doing so actively, is a great idea. I use GuavaPass myself, and would welcome the opportunity to try out a hotel’s gym facilities or classes — why not use all the resources at hand to find new customers who may not have thought about your facilities before?

We even have the first official ‘wellness resort’ of its kind in the UAE with The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel Hotel, which signed an MoU with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) with an aim to drive wellness tourism in the region. At the time of signing, His Excellency Humaid Al Qatami, chairman of the board and director-general of the Dubai Health Authority, said in a statement: “Healthy eating and exercise are the pillars of good health and incorporating wellness in the hospitality industry is a positive trend.”

A positive step forward, especially bearing in mind a roundtable I hosted last year for Arabian Travel Market on the topic of wellness tourism. At the time, the participants said it was important to use the natural elements we have to drive authentic wellness offerings in line with the region’s culture.But what I’m also interested in is the flip-side — what about the health and wellness of colleagues and team members?  One of the things that I’m always impressed by is internal initiatives to ensure team members are happy, healthy, and have a good work-life balance. It’s a topic that also came up during the Great GM Debate advisory panel, and frankly, I truly believe that healthy and mentally happy employees will be inclined to be more loyal to you, and that will lead to better retention.

So here’s to wellness all around!

Devina Divecha is the group editor of the Hospitality Group at ITP Business.

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