Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Motivates YOU to Travel? Take the Survey! Win cool prizes!

This is a cool survey you won't want to miss!
For all those lovers of vacations and travel and well-being experiences, if you take this survey, you will be entered into a drawing. (It takes 15-20 minutes and the survey must be completed in its entirety!) 

Survey participants are eligible to win one of several travel prizes: 
One grand prize winner will receive a three-night oceanfront stay at Southern California’s hidden Pacific Coast gem, the luxurious Terranea Resort
One lucky winner will receive a Vespa tour of South Beach with Roam Rides
Six additional winners will receive a Kuhi comfort travel pillow – the ultimate in traveling well Five additional winners will receive skincare travel kits from KleanSpa!

To take the survey click here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changi Airport in Singapore

Having traveled to Singapore to speak at the Wellness Summit, I have to say from LA, it's a very long flight. However, arriving at Changi airport is a pleasure. I was first in line at passport control, my luggage arrived quickly and it seemed like in no time, I was out the door, hailing a cab.

The return trip home was a little more laborious since I decided to explore Bali for few days and had to wake up in the middle of the night to drive the hour plus to catch a 6:20 flight to Singapore. Ugh. With a five hour layover. Double ugh.

However, I have to say, overall despite, the short night, long day and longer travel experience awaiting me, Changi impressed me to no end. Is there shopping? Yes. Is there ample food choices? yes? Is it clean and are the bathrooms well maintained? YES! Was it simple checking in? Yes. Was passport control a breeze? yes.

The surprises came in when I discovered a fitness center, a koi pond, an orchid park, free internet access and computer terminals easily available, a sunflower garden rooftop, several spa options, a free movie theater, individual pod like chairs to watch ESPN and other TV options, a kiosk to take a picture and send a digital postcard to friends and family, an interactive art display to learn about Asian art forms, a children (I couldn't help myself) to try your hand at block prints using crayons and apparently the worlds largest indoor slide and also a lottery for those that spend $30 in one transaction. What's 5 hours when you are entertained and the keep finding new ways to amuse yourself?

I boarded Korean Airlines to Seoul and was looking forward to the 3 hour layover - had read up on food and drink to try and was hoping to do a little Christmas shopping. Arriving at after 10 pm, the airport was a ghost town with stores and restaurants already closed. I looked at the banana milk I wanted to try, separated by glass, took a deep sigh and opened up my laptop. I do have to say - cleanliness and easy internet access made the 3 hour layover ok.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quick Observations on Turkey

Antalya - There has been a 30% increase in tourism for Q1 of this year compared to last. Primary tourist composition 1) Russians 2) Iranians 3) Germans.

Turkish Airlines is an impressive operation with expanding travel routes to strategic locations such as Africa, the Middle East and now features direct flights from Istanbul to LA on designated days. Having experienced both first class and economy class - both are good. I had heard 45 Euros of the ticket price goes towards food service - which is well worth it - with a chef onboard which I find to be unique and a great selling feature. They do a good job of introducing Turkey's growing economy & global role and some of their tourism product (specifically health tourism) through inflight videos.

The last day of my trip, was the only day I turned on CNN and was surprised to see both Egypt and Abu Dhabi Tourism board ads.

European Spa Association Congress Wrap-Up

Just returned from a wonderful trip to Antalya which was a mix of business (speaking at the European Spa Association Congress) and pleasure.

First, I am very impressed at the organizational framework of ESPA and its representation from country-wide spa associations. There were 19 countries represented and 100 in attendance. Small but mighty participation. The host country this year was Turkey and the location could not have been more conducive to well-being - set in the all-inclusive luxury resort Ela Quality Resort in Belek, Antalya (located on the Mediterranean sea).

The ESPA agenda was one of the best organized events I have attended giving attention to medical, spa, hotel, tour operators, insurance providers and government entities and also giving equitable platforms to varied geographies within Europe.

Many thanks to Zeki Karaguelle, Board Member and country host for coordinating such a fantastic location/experience and being the gracious, diplomatic and hospitable moderator during the conference.

Many thanks to Joachim Lieber, ESPA Board member responsible for the excursion to Cappadocia/Konya. These are two very important cultural highlights in Turkey's tourism portfolio. There were 12 of us representing 10 countries who had the wonderful opportunity to share meaningful travel experiences like the sunrise balloon over the incredible landscape of fairy chimneys and rock formations of Cappadoccia.

It was an honor and pleasure to contribute and provide a framework of understanding on American & Canadian spas. In a hours time, my presentation covered stats on American spas re: composition, staffing, visits, service mix and revenue; a primer on US healthcare and the American consumer, 7 points on how wellness has been incorporated into spas in the US/Canada and finally a report on US Travelers to Europe.

What I learned is that the US and European spas have much different business models, consumer interests and regulatory/legal frameworks & payor/fee models. What I would like to see is better education to the American population/businesses/insurance providers on the clinical benefits of thermal spa "holidays"/wellness trips.

On Ela Quality - my hats off to management for the execution of a great product performed with top-notch customer service.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hawaii - Developing Wellness Tourism

With wellness on the rise, some destinations are taking note and taking measures to package to consumer groups. The Hawaii Island Wellness Journey Association, a group of 120 wellness practitioners and businesses met with the Hawaii Visitor's Bureau and Hawaii County officials to propose a wellness tourism marketing intitiative. Next steps include agreement on advertising and marketing strategies and budgets, packaging and promotion and developing guidelines for wellness travel to Hawaii.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

20% of Vertabrates threatened by Extinction

Quick entry on what I read about in this morning's edition of the WSJ - 1/5 of all verterbrates are threatened with extinct according to new research. That means loss of mammals, birds and amphibians. The number would have been higher if it were not for conservation efforts and the creation of animal sanctuaries.

Having attended the Wellness Summit in Singapore - the theme was sustainability. Our health is linked to our habitat. This tells me - we need to pay better attention and be more active. Our lives are linked with other living things. Something worthwhile to think about.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

21 Day Meditation Challenge from the Chopra Center

From the Chopra Center
Day 3: What Are Thoughts?
We have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s about 1.2 thoughts every second. They’re coming . . . you will not stop them . . . so don’t even try. Sometimes new meditators worry that they have too many thoughts. It is a common misconception that meditation is about completely emptying the mind, but closing your eyes and meditating doesn’t stop thoughts; it simply helps you disconnect from them. Thoughts aren’t distractions in your meditation . . . they’re part of your meditation and part of being human. We don’t try to stop them, we don’t do anything with them . . . instead we let them drift in and out like clouds.

Most of us in health and wellness can relate to this...and the need to disconnect from thoughts. There are many forms of meditation and what I like about the 21 Day Meditation challenge is the various meditation practices that will be explored.