- Aaron Wick. on what to expect from the wellness industry this year
The last year has been one of the most stressful periods in many people’s lives. The pandemic and all the losses that came with it, the economic crisis, and every other calamity of 2021 are ones we all want to put behind us this year and start afresh. Many are looking into taking a much-needed wellness vacation to look into their mental, physical, and spiritual health.
In December 2021, the Global Wellness Institute projected that the wellness travel market will reach $ 816.5 billion, with a projected average annual growth rate of 20.9% for 2020-25. This means wellness facilities, spas, and alternative medicine centres will see an uptick in visitations and requests, reflecting the pent-up demand for wellness services as the pandemic eases.
Brunch spoke to Aaron Wick Yoga Founder and Annie Au Yoga Co-Founder and Partner Aaron Wickramasekara on what the wellness industry can expect this year in the Sri Lankan context.
Wickramasekara has always expressed that Sri Lanka has so much to offer in terms of wellness, being a country with such a rich heritage and history in ayurveda.
He thinks that it certainly is an advantage that tourism is opening up and hopes that nothing hinders the relaunch of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka. That being said, he also observed that there are many hotels in Sri Lanka that have started wellness programmes; they have taken the time in the last year to build certain hotels and resorts that are catered solely around the wellness aspect in Sri Lanka. “These hotels and resorts will bring aspects that we haven’t seen in Sri Lanka and were only ever seen in the foreign market. In the next few months, big brands will launch their projects and once tourism opens up, we will see a boom in wellness tourism, in particular, surrounding health, wellbeing, yoga, and mindfulness,” he commented. He added that these projects are not just for foreigners but for the local market as well.
We asked him about his plans for this year, to which he said that since teacher trainings were cancelled last year, he will be restarting those. “We will be flying in and out of Dubai for these programmes, which generally last about a month, and will commence this July,” he told us.
He will also be conducting business training on how to train teachers, again in hopes of opening up the wellness market.
Talking about the projects that he is personally involved in, he explained that they are trying to make it accessible and at a price point that would make it available to the local market as well. In terms of international exposure, he explained that he has a network of contacts of teachers around the world, who will come together and plan workshops in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo, the south, and the hills as well.
The yoga market in Sri Lanka is very vague; more often than not, people have the wrong idea. Wickramasekara added: “I will try to expose the tourists that come to the various styles of yoga and aspects of it as I possibly can. I’m trying to expand the market and expand the horizons of the local market.”
By doing this, he is able to create new jobs and new potential and change the perspective of what yoga means to locals.
He also said that as long as there is no new variant or something else unexpected does not happen, the wellness market in Sri Lanka is sure to flourish. “We are seeing an influx of tourists and now is the time to begin promoting the wellness industry and encouraging taking care of one’s mental and spiritual health as well,” he said.