Alta blog

Alta Thoughts (September 2023)

By Rakesh Patel

It was great to be part of the PHIST (Phuket Hotels Island Sustaining Tourism) event and to share a panel on Sustainable Wellness. The event does an important job of keeping the discussion live around sustainability in the hospitality industry. Some of the takeaways:


  • KP Ho from Banyan Tree Group is preparing for the next generation of sustainable traveller
  • Architectural design advice from Bill Bensley is to always “follow mother nature”
  • Dual responsibility for the operator and owner to deliver on the sustainability agenda
  • The bigger challenge in Asia is the lack of the regulatory stick you see in Europe
  • Hotels could benefit from there being an open source sustainability framework
  • Common ESG standards similar to that of IFRS in accounting needs to be adopted
  • Bank financing regards green credentials as a must have rather than a nice to have

    Below are a few of our recent thoughts posted on LinkedIn. As always, good to hear your feedback and exchange ideas. You can follow us directly on LinkedIn and go to our website.


    The rise of wellness travel, from rewilding to yoga and pilgrimages

    The pandemic accelerated people’s awareness of their physical and mental vulnerability. This has impacted travellers purpose for travel. For example, 29% of those surveyed by Virtuoso/YouGov want to travel for wellness.

    As NatGeo notes this can take multiple forms, beyond just a spa. Personalised programmes focused on specific areas like sleep, nutrition, mental health are in demand.

    Expedia’s points to 46% of customers being open to “No Normal” experiences like sylvotherapy (forest bathing), food bootcamps, chakra sessions.

    And there is a boom in “endorphin tourism” with travellers seeking activity trips that give them a natural high, whether it be hiking, biking or surfing.

    As the World Tourism Association concludes, wellness travel allows the traveller “to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing. What constitutes a wellbeing holiday is subjective”.


    Q2 Industry Perspectives: Looking Ahead for the Travel Industry

    Insightful to read what large travel businesses say in their Q2 numbers, especially the forward looking statements based on their broad footprint and deep data banks.

  • Leisure travel demand was strong into summer and will continue to outpace business travel by a reasonable margin
  • International travel is surprising on the upside led by premium leisure and Asia-Pacific and Europe destinations
  • Business travel is slower to recover but the forward indicators from SME and MICE are trending upwards
  • The travel outlook remains positive, with little evidence yet of macro headwinds significantly impacting travel plans

    Food Fight

    There is a healthy debate in the US between the FDA and food companies, over guidelines for “healthy” food products.

    To promote better health, the FDA has proposed to cap levels of saturated fat, sodium and sugar in foods labelled “healthy”. The Consumer Brands Association (CBA), representing the food companies, argues that the rules are overly stringent and not backed by scientific evidence, linking these foods with diet-related disease. Interestingly, they claim a first amendment right to use the word “healthy”.

    Surely everyone can agree that what is needed is more transparency around the food we eat, alongside thorough scientific research of food consumption cause and effect. Easier said than done though, with the current mis-aligned interests and incentives.