In focus: Meaningful journeys

A shift towards meaningful travel is becoming increasingly apparent among affluent consumers. Alongside a growing consciousness toward the world around us, global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic have made travellers far more intentional with how and where they spend their money, evident in trends such as wellness, sustainability, slow and transformative travel. Elegant Resorts’ Future of Luxury report earlier this year said clients are prioritising health and wellbeing more than ever, with 22% “highly likely” to book a wellness holiday to improve their mental wellbeing. Research presented at the latest Virtuoso Travel Week reported a similar narrative, with 94% of travellers incorporating self-care into their holiday.

The luxury travel network found that 47% of respondents spend between $5,000 and $10,000 per wellness trip and another 44% spend $10,000 to $25,000 per trip. Equally, sustainability has a growing influence over the way we travel, with rising numbers of clients prioritising brands that champion eco initiatives. And the trend isn’t confined to the tourism sector. Statistics from the Global Millionaires 2023 TrendLens report by data and insights firm Agility, Research & Strategy found that 87% of UK high-net-worth individuals would pay more for a sustainable brand. Such shifts in consumer behaviour have shaped emerging luxury brands, with many placing wellness, sustainability and social responsibility at the heart of their strategy.

Wellness

On new luxury line Explora Journeys, wellness is central to its Ocean State of Mind philosophy. More than 10,764 sq ft of space is dedicated to a luxurious spa, indoor and outdoor wellness areas, contemporary fitness facilities and an outdoor sports court and running track. Guests can tap into health assessments and Technogym Artis equipment in the Fitness Centre; core strength, balance and Technogym classes exclusively designed for Explora Journeys in the Fitness Studio; and alfresco facilities on the open-air fitness deck. In the spa, a sensorial therapeutic circuit boasts a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, Finnish sauna, salt cave, experience shower, ice fall and heated marble loungers. The 11 treatment rooms include two Private Spa Suites with their own outdoor relaxation area and a treatment room dedicated to specialised Medi Luxe Treatments by Dr Levy Switzerland.

But wellness is woven into every aspect of the guest’s journey, from apps on suite TVs that host guided meditation and music for sleep to thoughtfully curated excursions that help guests explore new cultures and connect with like-minded people. Clients can enjoy tailor-made consultations and retreat programmes ranging from sleep to nutrition, as well as yoga classes. Guests in Ocean Residences also have the option of training in their suites, thanks to Technogym Bench, a strength-training station enclosed with tools, and Technogym Case Kit, which features QR code access to a digital library of guided video exercises.

Sustainable retail

Explora Journeys has also overhauled the way retail is presented onboard to reflect consumers seeking to purchase products with a purpose, whether that be unique, handcrafted pieces from small businesses or brands focused on sustainable production. The line claims The Journey is the first retail offering at sea to actively look for partners with sustainable documentation, resulting in more than 30 hand-picked artisanal brands on board. The offering includes niche perfumery brand Fueguia 1833, which was founded in 2010 as “a tribute to Indigenous communities of South America... and an ode to their preservation”. Fragrances are crafted at the Fueguia 1833 Botany, a 50-acre plantation in Uruguay, using native South American plants, and the brand makes a limited series of 400 bottles of fragrances per batch.

There’s also luxe clothing and swimwear brand Kampos, whose items are entirely sustainable. The product line is produced from recycled plastic bottles, abandoned fishing nets and other organic materials, and the company donates part of its revenues to conservation projects in the Maldives and Svalbard. Elsewhere, shoppers will find Aaks, a handcrafted, ethical luxury accessories brand founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi to showcase the weaving techniques of Ghanese women.

The luxury handbags are not only works of art but also aim to increase awareness of eco-sensitive production processes. Guests on Explora I will also find favourites including Cartier and Panerai, as well as the first at-sea boutique from Rolex. It’s clear the wants and needs of affluent travellers are changing, and it’s ahead-of[1]the-curve brands like Explora Journeys that are best primed to keep pace.

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