November 23, 2022by Charlotte Cullinan
The turning point in Nguru’s career came on a busy day in September 2020 as the NHS battled the raging Covid pandemic. Nguru was in the middle of her resident’s rounds when she suddenly collapsed. When she woke up, she found herself in a bed in the same acute care unit where she had just been tending patients.
Nguru spent three days at the ward, and tests revealed she suffered from chronic anemia and burnout.
“Most of us were running idle, working in survival mode to deal with the constant influx of patients with Covid and other life-threatening conditions,” Nguru explains. “We all wanted the NHS to work despite the terrible working conditions.”
From her hospital bed, Nguru watched the resident who had been drafted in to replace her as he desperately tried to finish his rounds amid complaints from patients.
“I had an epiphany,” she explains. “I realized I was just a farmer in this larger part of the NHS. If I had died they would have just replaced me and maybe sent a card to my family. But I am irreplaceable for my family.”
A week later, Nguru left the NHS and began her career as a wellness travel coach and consultant.
The power of travel
The daughter of a Kenyan diplomat, Nguru spent her childhood traveling the world. Her wanderlust continued into adulthood as she regularly booked vacations as a break from her busy medical career. She explains: “After particularly horrific changes, I was on my way with the goal of rebuilding myself, refreshing my mindset and having that space to just focus on my well-being and to think about where I want my life to go. Travel became a catalyst for positive transformation in my life.”
After leaving the NHS, Nguru became a qualified cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) trainer and an accredited mindfulness practitioner. Whilst Covid restrictions meant travel was restricted, she began researching the benefits of travel for well-being.
She explains: “In the UK, many doctors are now embracing lifestyle medicine, focusing on holistic and personalized patient care that focuses on natural prevention, such as balanced diet, increased exercise and the healing benefits of nature. If you see your doctor, they might prescribe you to go for a walk on the beach. I loved the idea of prescribing travel as a medicine for the mind.”
What the doctor ordered
Since 2018, Nguru has been helping others with travel bookings on a small scale alongside her job as a doctor. She began laying the groundwork for a new company that would combine her medical, CBT, and mindfulness training and offer prescribed wellness journeys. In 2021, she joined InteleTravel, a homeworking agency, and this February launched its newly refined business model as What the doctor recommends.
Clients are asked to complete a detailed behavioral questionnaire prior to speaking with Nguru, in which she examines their goals, the wellness experiences they enjoy and their travel history to date. After analyzing a client’s data, she prescribes a suitable destination and designs a comprehensive itinerarysent with an email saying “Your prescription is ready for collection”.
While each journey is tailored to a client’s needs and goals, they typically focus on helping individuals detox from technology and recover from professional burnout through wellness-based activities and “mindful goal exploration.” Clients can also receive CBT and mindfulness coaching from Nguru.
She explains: “We know that traveling is very special. But we never really break up and dive in and put our phones away so the cycle of stress and burnout is never broken. People can celebrate a week on vacation and come back and not recovered and not built resilience.”
All of Nguru’s clients are wealthy women who typically choose to travel solo. Many are in high-pressure jobs, facing what Nguru calls the “silent pandemic of professional burnout,” or going through major life transitions like divorce.
She explains, “Some people go to the gym, some go shopping, but for my clients, travel is more about something that uplifts them and creates an environment that allows them to unplug and have space to deconstruct their feelings . Then they come back and we combine it with CBT to bring that transformation into the rest of their lives.”
Mandatory wellness travel consultations start from £695, and Nguru explains: “It is including data analysis, comprehensive planning and effective coaching with a specialized wellness travel coach. My services are a wonderful example of valuable results that far exceed the investment costs.” She also offers bespoke wellness travel consultations without CBT coaching, with consultations starting at £150.
She continues, “The travel experiences I design are truly life changing. My clients acquire a wealth of positive life-coping skills that are invaluable to them. The financial aspect also filters out people who are not serious about the hard work that comes with growth, introspection and changes in their lives.”
Nguru’s top wellness travel destinations include Italy, South Africa and Morocco, and she works directly with hoteliers and DMCs, building a network of partners by attending events such as WTM London.
Nguru stresses that she does not provide medical consultation service and if she encounters other symptoms, such as B. Severe anxiety, clients are referred to other medical professionals so they can work on acute conditions before booking a trip.
The majority of customers find Nguru through social media, their Facebook groups, or PR coverage. Nguru acknowledges that her approach is unique – she claims “I am the only doctor in the world who prescribes travel as a medicine for the mind” – and she has ambitious growth plans.
In April 2023 she will launch a training course for medical professionals who want to follow her example and become a wellness travel coach and consultant and they will operate under the What The Doctor Recommends brand. The course is held in cooperation with the Travel Coach Network, for which Nguru is an ambassador, and will include training in travel coaching, how to find clients, start a business and differentiate yourself from the competition, in addition to business management. Their goal is to recruit enough medical professionals by 2024 to help 100,000 professionals overcome burnout by prescribing travel as a therapy.
She also hopes to offer a corporate service by offering travel wellness coaching to teams. “It’s a cost-effective, preventative stress management solution that keeps people from reaching the burnout stage,” she explains.
And her goals don’t stop there, as Nguru is also working with the College of Medicine and Integrated Health to enable doctors to prescribe wellness trips and holistic therapies in the NHS by 2024.
Nguru’s client base is still relatively small, but she explains, “I’m getting the basics down now before I scale it up. I know next year will be the year people will be hearing from What the Doctor Recommends.”
Longer vacations, responsible vacations among Africa travel trends: Travel Weekly
With improved air access to Africa and ever-increasing traveler confidence, Africa is expected to be a hot ticket for US travelers in 2023. This presents incredible opportunities for travel consultants, Africa experts say.
The opportunity lies in the fact that more than ever, travelers to Africa are taking a lead.
“Before Covid, some travelers asked for quotes on pre-determined destinations and camps. They would then compare prices, often choosing the lowest[-priced] Operators,” said Karen Zulauf of Deeper Africa. “They seemed to trust the internet more than anyone with extensive experience in the space. Travelers planning safaris for 2023 appear to be much more open to advice and guidance.”
The knowledgeable specialist safari tour operator will play an important role in advising and assisting travel consultants and their clients in planning the safari itinerary that best suits their expectations, said Holden Safaris’ Jim Holden. He pointed out that with more information and choices when deciding on a safari, the assistance of a safari specialist is essential.
According to Holden, the most common prefix for most customer questions is “when or what is best” and then fill in the blank, be it the best time to go on safari, the best destination to go on safari, the best place to see a leopard etc. “The answer is, rather than relying on hearsay or trying to sort through all the conflicting information on social media, go with a specialist safari tour operator,” he said.
As travelers are more likely to turn to trusted travel advisors for 2023, it’s important to be up to date on the key trends for the year ahead. Here’s what thought leaders in Africa are predicting:
1. Short delivery times: Probably not the news most travel advisors want to hear, but last-minute bookings to Africa will remain rife in 2023, said Cindy Sheedy Walker, a consultant at Extraordinary, a collection of luxury hotels and lodges in southern Africa. Travelers have an urge for spontaneous adventure and discovery, adds Craig Glatthaar, Americas sales manager at Wilderness Safaris. “In a post-pandemic era, the need for adventure in life is a growing trend.”
Onne Vegter, managing director of Wild Wings Safaris, also sees a trend towards last-minute or “spontaneous” trips. This is unfortunate, he said, as availability can be limited many months in advance during peak seasons, particularly in destinations where demand far outstrips supply. Vegter added that no-deposit concessions made during the pandemic have come to an end. Travelers are still reluctant to part with large sums of money well in advance, but suppliers understandably need to insist on a reasonable deposit, typically between 10% and 30%, to reserve the rooms.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Travel advisors can encourage their clients to get out of peak season where they have greater value with new experiences and fewer crowds during shoulder seasons, says Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel.
2. Take responsible travel to a new level: In 2023, responsible travel in Africa will reach a whole new level, according to safari specialists. Sandra Devoti, general manager at Giltedge, says meaningful travel is a big trend for 2023 as travelers want to “give back” and have a meaningful vacation.
Travelers are turning to Africa because it offers sustainable travel with numerous opportunities to give back in a meaningful way, Banda agreed. “Given the severe impact of the global pandemic and the importance of wildlife conservation, there has never been a greater focus on sustainable travel in Africa,” he said. “Customers across the continent are looking for up-and-coming destinations and more remote destinations. They crave life-changing experiences.”
People are traveling much more consciously, said Lindy Rousseau, chief strategist at Singita. They are interested in authentic sustainability credentials and engage with issues such as solar energy, food waste, plastic use, water conservation, ethical food sourcing, sustainable building materials and local employment.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Direct travelers to responsible companies that not only pay lip service to sustainability and conservation, but companies that have a proven track record, said James Currie, North American sales and new development manager at Great Plains.
3. Linger longer: According to Robert More, CEO of More Family Collection, people can and will linger longer in 2023 as they have more flexibility with virtual work options.
Index Hotels CEO Craig Seaman agreed, saying we will see more individual travelers. But contrary to what is seen in Europe where it will be the more mature market, in Africa we will see a younger profile (under 35). “This is being driven by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ phenomenon that will allow this generation to enjoy longer stays,” he said.
Travelers are asking for longer stays at safari lodges to enjoy the full safari experience and the many additional activities now offered by many safari lodges, such as learning about the importance of conservation, Holden noted.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Expand the safari experience by incorporating many activities previously considered “back home” that are an integral part of a safari lodge’s existence, such as protecting wildlife and the environment, Holden said.
Seaman adds that it is important for travel consultants to be realistic and aware that Africa is a large and developing continent and not all areas are easily accessible. “It often takes a lot longer to travel from A to B than Google Maps says, so it’s better to choose a ‘base’ hotel/luxury villa from which your guest can explore, rather than doing this every day or two to change hotels,” he said.
4. Group travel of any kind: While solo travel is a key trend for 2023, so are multi-generational travel and group travel. As Zulauf of Deeper Africa pointed out: “Before Covid, the trend was to personalize travel, but now people want to travel with others who matter to them.”
“We see friends traveling together – men, women and couples traveling together – to create memories. These groups often have a common interest, be it sport, food, fauna or flora, but what they are looking for most are unforgettable experiences,” said Seemann.
The result, according to Index Hotels’ Seaman, is an increasing demand for luxury serviced private residences.
“Groups traveling together want the luxury of a hotel but the freedom of homestay, where they can set their own schedule but still not have to worry about cleaning and cooking,” he said.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Banda noted that customers want enhanced experiences and are interested in a la carte options that cater to the diverse desires of their group, so there is something for everyone. Travel Agents who have a group of more than 10 clients traveling together may book a new group.
Travel agents should look for multi-room villas to accommodate group travel. Both Tswalu and Natural Selection have previously announced that they will be incorporating multi-room villas into their new camps, which will launch next summer.
5. A holistic experience: “We’ve entered a new travel landscape and not just a travel bubble,” Seaman said. He said travel has become part of people’s well-being and wellness journey since the pandemic subsided.
Wilderness Safaris’ Smoothhair agreed with Seaman, saying that as travelers look to the future, self-development will be a critically important element of the travel experience. “Events surrounding the pandemic have highlighted the issues of self-care, mental resilience and other introspective exercises. People will look at travel as a way to invest in themselves.”
Opportunity for travel consultants? After the uncertainty of the pandemic era, travelers want to travel with peace of mind. Hence a consistent, reliable delivery of the travel experience, with health and safety in mind from start to finish, said Glatthaar.
Singita Rousseau’s travel consultants must provide guests with a seamless and easy booking experience. “Make sure guests feel cared for. Take the time to connect the right guests with the right product,” she said.
Berlin, Germany Destination Guide – Hotels Above Par
Berlin has a reputation for being “poor but sexy” – but its shopping, nightlife, restaurant and hotel scenes strive to ensure you never compromise on the value of taste, quite literally.
Combining aesthetic nods to 1920s Paris with Berlin’s modern hedonism, the most flirty hotel on the Berlin scene is ready to have as much fun as you on this trip. The Provocateur Hotel is the kind of hotel that’s unabashedly red velvet and dark dining rooms, which seems just right after years of Scandinavian minimalism.
One of those hotels where residents and tourists really mingle at the bar, there’s usually an interesting crowd at the Michelberger Hotel, making it perfect for solo travelers looking to socialize, business travelers looking for coworking company, or groups of Friends who wish to stay up all night (or day) at the nearby clubs. It’s within walking distance of artsy Kreuzberg and brunch-and-boutique hotspot Boxhagener Platz, and the on-site restaurant is excellent, too.
This Michelin-starred restaurant in trendy Neukölln joyfully blurs the lines between dinner and dessert, thanks to the talent of chef René Frank and the rest of his team. It’s an unexpected break with much of the fine dining scene, thanks to the way Frank, a former pastry chef, uses this approach to meet, enhance and explode savory flavors on the plate. Two seating arrangements per evening (each with a different number of courses) require a reservation.
A Franco-Australian dream team runs this utterly delightful brunch spot in leafy Prenzlauer Berg, home to the massive Mauerpark flea market (which is where you go after you’ve eaten an Eggs Benedict, which people love to queue for). You can enjoy a meal that lasts for hours if you wish: the menu is heavy on fizzy and rosé, and the staff has easy judgment, which is exactly how a perfect brunch restaurant should be. Check the wonderfully loud Facebook page for special events – oyster and rosé nights are known to take place in the summer.
Head here for a drink before your CODA reservation, or take a trip to Berlin’s southern neighborhood — full of galleries, excellent bars, and other after-hours fun — for this cocktail bar. It’s run by some of Berlin’s most talented mixologists, who develop seasonal menus that often focus on handpicked ingredients and condiments from around the city, but no pressure if nothing speaks to you: the friendly staff are also happy to whip up a classic concoction or a creative libation with a few tips to keep you going.
The classic night at Berlin’s Berghain techno club is on most tourists’ checklists and needs no explanation—though the adventure ends before you actually make it through the doors. While a lot of effort has gone into deciphering a guaranteed outfit or aura that will see you past the bouncer, the general advice is extremely Berliner: wear black and chill.
Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse might be the places to find designer designer names, but if you want to head to some independent shops instead, Kastanienallee is the place to be. Begin (or end, or both) your stroll down the street at the Pratergarten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, located near the end of Eberswalderstrasse. Kauf Dich Glück is a medium-priced shop for clothes and flagship offers ethical fashion – and there is even more to discover in the side streets of the avenue. In a blast from the past/true Berlin spirit, there is also a DVD shop.
Kreuzberg’s most famous market hall hosts a big party once a week celebrating the local gastronomy, Street Food Thursdays, where you can go from vendor to vendor with friends and taste their wares. (Arrive early to secure a spot!). It’s family-friendly, but there are also some great wine suppliers here, adding a bit of a party vibe to the evening – our advice is to buy a bottle or two, then send friends off to collect missions from the talented chefs. It’s great too Not Thursdays to take home local specialties (and to buy quality local ingredients for cooking if you choose the apartment route for accommodation).
This design-led concept store features both big names and those who call Berliners home, whether you’re looking for an all-black outfit for Berghain, utility trousers from GmbH, Jacquemus knitwear or minimalist jackets from Acne Studios.
If fashion with the capital F isn’t quite your thing, head to Manufactum in Charlottenburg for a huge selection of homewares for gifting or keeping that combine timeless design with good old-fashioned German quality and a few foreign finds. Here you can take home wooden toys for your children, Japanese gardening gloves, nice stationery, chunky sweaters and a bottle of German whiskey (yes, really) – and think of your trip every time you use them.
This former Nazi airport has seen a lot of drama and history in its lifetime – and now it’s a huge park, playground, kitesurf track, barbecue area and basically a backyard for Berliners. In fact, it’s the world’s largest open inner-city square, and this is where you’ll find everyone (really everyone) hanging out on a sunny summer’s day. There’s a circus school, a beer garden and a six-kilometre track (the former runways) where you can walk, run or kitesurf, and the charming cafes of the Schillerkiez are a short stroll away if you need a break .
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Kerala’s women-friendly tourism to unlock entrepreneurship in the State, Hospitality News, ET HospitalityWorld
Kerala tourism is launching another ambitious movement to take its already well-established responsible tourism project to a whole other level and level, and has recently launched a campaign to make the state women-friendly through its Responsible Tourism Mission.
What does the Kerala Campaign different from the usual safe to travel Campaigning for women is the whole construct of how they want to achieve this goal. The country’s tourism minister recently launched the campaign, PA Mohammed Riyas said that state tourism seeks to achieve this by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of women in the state. The travel packages are designed and run by women, with food, accommodation, transportation and tour guides being women.
“We have combined two global campaigns – Tourism for Inclusive Growth and UN Women – Gender Inclusive Tourism – in our women-friendly tourism project,” said Rupeshkumar, state coordinator of RT Mission Kerala.
As a knot agency RT mission is commissioned to advance the project for Kerala Tourism. With a network of over 25,000 RT units statewide spanning farm tourism, agritourism, homestays, cultural and craft units, the state RT Mission sees this as an expansion of its current activities.
“Of the 25,000 RT units, almost 18,000 are women-led RT units, which gives us a head start when we start this project,” says Rupeshkumar.
Around 1,500 people have already registered on the network since it launched last month, he says. Two rounds of training were also successfully arranged for these newly registered participants. In the coming months, training workshops will be held in all 14 districts and around 1000 panchayats.
In addition to the RT units, the country also has well-connected and active women’s travel groups. That’s an added benefit, he says. All these groups also fully support the initiative.
He said an audit of all destinations would be launched in terms of women-friendliness and gaps would be identified and bridged with financial support from state tourism. These audits address gaps in terms of adequate toilet facilities, availability of safe and hygienic food, feeding stations, shelter, etc. The audit will be completed in all villages before December 30th.
There are already 2800 ethnic kitchen units registered under the RT mission. Many of these units are part of a household and run by women. According to Rupeshkumar, the number of such units could be increased many times over.
The initiative aims to include 30 women from each village in the women-friendly tourism network. Among these 30 people there are tour guides; travel coordinators; Homestay/Serviced Villas, ‘she stays‘, food/catering units, toilet/drinking water units; refresh houses; female-friendly taxis; ‘you cars‘, Etc.
While female-friendly travel aims to create a positive image for the state and attract the burgeoning female solo travelers and women’s groups; It also intends to encourage local women to explore their own state with confidence.
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