For Health or for Wellness

For Health or for Wellness…

Belize is wellness. There is no doubt that ours is a country that can be very healing. But what is “wellness”? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness as “a positive state of health and quality of life that is influenced by social, economic, and environmental factors”.  The concept is multidimensional and goes far beyond exercise, healthy diets, and avoiding sickness. The wellness lifestyle takes discipline and commitment.  It is a commitment to ensuring all aspect of self is healthy. Everything from the swimming in the sea, diving the barrier reef, chopping a coconut open, cleaning a fish, riding a bike, being able to feel the sun regularly, and even eating seasonal fruits goes towards maintaining mental, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. The idea and practices of wellness have been around for some time; however, after the pandemic travel and wellness intersected to form Wellness Tourism. Yup! Traveling for holistic health is a real thing. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) describes Wellness Tourism as a division of the global tourism industry that markets natural assets or activities primarily focused on the wellness-minded consumer and those who want to be. As it turns out there are a lot of travellers who want to be and it so happens that Belizean culture, our natural resources and our eco-centric tourism are great for feeling great.

According to a 2023 article in Condé Nast Traveler, “wellness tourism is expected to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025”. It is expected to include everything from family vacations, couple’s getaway, adults only retreats, beach escapes, and spa retreats all focused on helping travellers improve their emotional, mental, physical, and nutritional health. Eco-tourism and adventure tourism are a part of wellness tourism as well since activities like yoga, spa treatments, healthy eating, and nature exploration are common wellness activities. Not every traveller is the same and not all travellers will pursue wellness in the same way. No matter how a wellness tourism offer is curtailed, it must satisfy the different dimensions of holistic health. Lucky for us, Belize can cross all the boxes and look forward to developing wellness tourism as a part of our destination offerings.

In truth, Belize’s natural environment is perfect for finding one’s zen, but the culture also inadvertently incorporates wellness. So many of the things wellness travellers come to Belize for are aspects of Belizean traditional culture that is considered normal. For example, wellness circles may be familiar with Ayurveda which is an alternative and traditional medicine system that believes that health is and wellness depends on a balance mind and body and leans on natural methods. Sounds familiar?  It is like the sorosi that so many Belizeans still drink. Once the dried and boiled, sorosi is bitter enough to make your jaws clench and tongue want to turn over in your mouth but it has remained an important part of some Belizean’s health regimen. A dip in the sea was commonly prescribed to help reduce bodily aches and skin ailments. Lemongrass tea with a bit of ginger and garlic was brewed for sore throats. Organic fish oil and cod-liver oil are traditional health supplements. Traditional medicine is not new to Belizeans although the term “wellness” might be. Belizeans enjoy fresh farm produce, the warm sea to swim in, the sea breeze, nature walks, fresh air, seafood directly from the sea and so much more. It all adds to our wellness whether we know it or not. Call it ayurveda, wellness, or plain bush medicine, the point is Belize has it all. Call us an eco-centric, adventure loving, sustainability conscious, wellness-focused destination.

Chat again later.

Jasmine Anderson

For the Belize Tourism Board