Health-conscious travelers now make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. travel marketplace, and that number is trending upward. Already a $439 billion market, the wellness travel industry is expected to grow another 50 percent through 2017, according to the Global Wellness Tourism Congress. Meanwhile, hotels and resorts are spending billions of dollars on new facilities and upgrading existing properties to meet the demand of travelers looking for the best possible healthy destination experience.
To help legitimize the business of healthy travel destinations, a new nonprofit has been formed called the Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation (IHDA). The Washington, D.C.-based IHDA utilizes a proprietary science-based certification process, designed to help resorts and hotels measure and improve their health-related initiatives, amenities, facilities, and personnel. Likewise, the IHDA-operated website (www.travelhealthy.org) will serve as a consumer portal where health-focused travelers scan find useful and timely IHDA-certified information about healthy travel options throughout the U.S. and eventually throughout the world.
IHDA co-founders, Mary Ellen Rose, Ph.D., who serves as chief science officer, and veteran hospitality executive, Peter Hyland, president of IHDA, spent more than three years developing IHDA and the unique science behind it.
So far, six U.S. hotels/resorts have been IHDA approved as meeting Healthy Hospitality Best Practices: The Breakers Palm Beach (Fla.), The Hotel del Coronado (Calif.), The Broadmoor (Colo.), Mauna Kea Resort—Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (Hawaii), The Coeur d’Alene Resort (Idaho), and Airlie (Va.).