Will the Boom in Luxury and Wellness Travel Fizzle?

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After the travel frenzy of 2023, all signs point to increasing interest in far-flung destinations, villa rentals, private jet bookings and personal pilgrimages in 2024.

“The lust for luxury is real,” said Jack Ezon, the founder of the high-end travel agency Embark Beyond. But, he added, mindfulness is poised to replace heedless indulgence. “Consumers today are focused on sustainability, investment value and craftsmanship when considering a luxury purchase,” he said.

“Travel provides the glue that pulls the family close together and unites it around a shared passion,” said Tom Marchant, a co-founder of Black Tomato, which plans pricey bespoke trips. Compared to 2019, 2023 bookings were up 64 percent, and demand remains strong heading into the new year.

This year, travelers are expected to choose faraway places and board small ships, according to Virtuoso, the consortium of luxury travel agencies. In June, the new 264-passenger Seabourn Pursuit from the luxury cruise line Seabourn will visit the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia (10-day voyages start around $10,000 per person). Black Tomato is planning private group treks to untrammeled destinations like the Mitre Peninsula in Argentina’s Patagonia region, priced at more than $60,000 per person.

Among luxury eco-conscious newcomers, Ki’ama Bahamas, slated to open in the fall, promises to be the first fully solar-powered residential club in the Bahamas. This month, Lepogo Lodges in South Africa will open the carbon-neutral Melote House, accommodating up to 16 guests and funneling profits back into the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, where it is situated (nightly rates from $12,000).

Wellness travel, a market valued at over $600 billion, is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit that tracks the industry.

“Medical wellness and longevity sciences have taken over the wellness market,” said Beth McGroarty, the director of research and communications at the Global Wellness Institute. Medical procedures like bone density testing, biometric screening and stem-cell therapies are cropping up at resorts alongside low-tech programs that focus on sleep, breathing and social connection.

Travelers will have no shortage of new destinations to feed their hunger for health. In the spring, the new Ranch Hudson Valley will open near Tuxedo Park, N.Y., a spinoff of the original in Malibu, Calif., offering three-night-minimum stays and featuring colonics, cryotherapy and guided hikes (from $3,280 per person). SHA Mexico opens near Cancún in late January, with programs that address sexual health, stress reduction and sleep (minimum four-day stays start at $5,770).

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