Wellness has been a buzzword in travel for the past few years, with everything from organic menus to paddleboard yoga being introduced into mainstream properties. “People have never looked after their health and wellbeing in such large numbers which is why the spending for health and wellbeing will reach the US$4 trillion mark very soon,” according to Anne Biging, founder and managing director of Healing Hotels of the World. “Travel that includes health and wellbeing is sold 50 times faster then any other travel.” And, as with many trends, the concept is now moving over from leisure travel into corporate travel.

But what does ‘wellness’ really mean? It’s a vague and ambiguous term, so Ms Bigin prefers to think about ‘wellbeing’. “It is not just about pampering and wellness, but going on a self-discovery and recognising this as the most exiting journey into the unknown there is.  The basic human search for being fully engaged in what we believe, and living a life of purpose and meaning, is now the leading edge of the trend.”

In terms of MICE, Ms Biging sees this translating into programs that involve lifestyle coaching and that give participants a chance to go deeper into their own self. Wellbeing events or retreats are not simply about feeling physically well at the time, they are about creating a stronger, calmer, happier individual and then taking these traits back into the rest of their lives. “They are able to tap into a new level of their own personality and have an experience that is wholly their own rather than something they experience outside of themselves,” says Ms Biging.

The benefits are strong for both the event organisers and the attendees. Ms Biging believes a focus on wellbeing creates a strong bond between employees or clients that goes far beyond what is possible in more traditional events.