Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Jo Surkitt, wellness tourism expert and founder of Revitalise Escapes, says that transformational travel is the number one item on many Australian travellers’ wish lists.
So what is Transformational Travel anyway? Transformational Travel Council Co-Founder and Chairman, Jake Haupert, defines it as: ‘Any travel experience that empowers people to make meaningful, lasting changes in their life. Ultimately, it’s a new philosophy on travel that connects travellers to their truest self and to others, cultivating a sense of purpose and belonging.’
With international travel off the agenda for the time being, and the domestic travel situation changing daily, Surkitt says that many Aussies are looking for wellness tour experiences closer to home. This is why Revitalise Escapes has been so popular. The two and four-day Transformational Travel tours along The Great Ocean Road and the Bellarine Peninsula - with connections by car, train or air out of Avalon Airport – provide a wide range of travel options.
The research on the Transformational Travel trend point resoundingly towards a boom. According to *2020 statistics from the Global Wellness Institute, the top reasons people want to travel was to de-stress and relax, maintain their wellbeing, improve their mental health, have an adventure and focus on fitness.
Of people planning to travel in the near future, 76 per cent of respondents wanted to include a wellness component in their trip, 72 per cent were seeking a connection to nature, 42 per cent wanted outdoor activities, 45 per cent wanted local healthy food and 28 per cent were looking for sustainable, eco-tourism options.
Beyond tour inclusions, Surkitt says the current statistics around people’s self-reported wellness are alarming. “One in four people surveyed ranked their mental health below 5 out of 10,” she says.
“A wellness holiday can make a difference. You not only have the chance to escape from the stresses of daily life, but can stimulate your mind in a beautiful location and learn healthier habits. It's a great chance to not just relax, but also to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. A wellness holiday is the chance to embrace the opportunity where self-care and exercise is not a chore, but a fun experience where you can make the most of the beautiful surroundings.”
“People are wanting more nature escapes then big city getaways. People are realising that holidays aren’t just about sitting on the beach or exploring a new place, people want to immerse themselves more in nature and places that will make them feel happier and healthier. They also realise that they want to include wellness aspects to their time away, recoginising that their holidays are about rest and relaxation, as well as rejuvenation and transformation. They want to discover new experiences and these are now more around their health and wellbeing. People are looking for travel experiences that don’t just last for the time they are away but have long lasting effects like taking up yoga or meditation.”
So, what makes Revitalise Escapes Transformational Travel experiences different from regular tours?
Surkitt, who has run a wellness clinic for 20 years and worked in the wellness and tourism sector her whole life, explains, “We are one of the only ones in Australia doing this type of tour. People want the opportunity to explore nature and wellness along with accessing mindset strategies to build resilience, opportunities to reconnect with themselves and others, and enhance their mental and emotional needs that have arisen through the uncertainty and disruption of 2020 or from life in general.”
The itineraries include yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, infrared saunas, bike riding, nature hikes, forest bathing, hot springs, massages, high ropes climbing courses, sound healing, mindful art and nutrition sessions. These are all optional activities, if people want to come and just relax and take in the scenery, they can do this too.
“People love wellness retreats but they also want to explore parts of Australia so this was the key motivation when designing these tours, where people can still get all the positives included in a retreat but they also get to explore the region as well,” says Surkitt.