By Elaine Glusac

The healing power of nature, partially renewed by the mandate to maintain social distance, got a boost during the pandemic, as travelers flocked to the outdoors, from backyards to backwoods, throwing firewood on the blaze already ignited by forest-bathing and the movement by some medical doctors to prescribe time in the woods to patients seeking stress and anxiety relief.

Some of the most high-profile openings of 2021 offer cosseting entrée to the wild, including Explora El Chalten23 in Argentina’s Patagonia with treks, ice hikes and rock climbing in and around Los Glaciares National Park.

The back-to-nature movement coincides with booms in slow travel and human-powered travel.24 Slow travel—by foot, barge, RV or other decelerating means—offers more opportunities for reflection. At the Six Senses Punakha in Bhutan, guests are invited to hike through a forest to a nearby Buddhist monastery to meet with monks and learn about their daily life, followed by a meditation ritual back at the lodge. The active tour company Backroads developed a new set of trips called “Dolce Tempo”25 or “Sweet Time” that cover less ground but explore it more deeply in wine regions or national parks. The new seven-cabin wooden superyacht Dunia Baru,26 based in Indonesia, offers bespoke sailings around Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar for private groups seeking the slow lane at sea to dive biodiverse reefs and beachcomb deserted white strands.

Human-powered means of travel, be it cycling, walking, skiing, climbing or kayaking, offers not just a wellness challenge but extra control over where, when, how long and in what company. Retail analysts NPD Group said that bike sales in 2020 in the US grew by more than two-thirds.27 Backcountry equipment for winter sports surged too, led by the sales of snowshoes, up 254%.28 In Taiwan, already celebrated for its extensive cycling routes, 2021 is the Year of Cycling,29 designed to showcase its natural assets from cliff-backed coasts to majestic mountains.

This is an excerpt from the “2021: The Year of the Travel Reset” trend in the 2021 Global Wellness Trends Report.

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23 el-chalten-patagonia-argentina-new/ PR is Andrea Schnoor Communications aschnoor@

24 trend

25 easygoing-vacations


27 Bike sales from npd portal/npd/us/news/thought-leadership/2020/ consumers-are-flocking-to-these-5-activities/

28 Backcountry sales: wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2020/ a-blizzard-for-early-season-backcountry- equipment-sales-as-consumers-set-their-sights- on-cold-weather-outdoor-activities–reports-npd/


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