As we enter the second half of 2021, the wellness industry is once again changing at warp speed. The Global Wellness Summit keeps a close eye on the sector to identify wellness trends and predictions as well as how they’re evolving — especially as the world pivots in a post-COVID economy. A Wellness Master Class hosted at the end of June took a closer look at various wellness trends and their impact on global markets.

The conversation was moderated by GWS Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director Nancy Davis, and featured Beth McGroarty, vice president, research and forecasting, Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute; Elaine Glusac, travel writer, The New York Times; Sandra Ballentine, editor at large, W Magazine; and Veronica Schreibeis Smith, founding principal architect and CEO, Vera Iconica Architecture and Developments.

In January, Glusac wrote that 2021 would be the year of the travel reset. The idea was that a pandemic-shocked world would be keen to travel, but more cautiously, slower, nearer to home, and more sustainably with an eye to supporting communities and environments.

Since that article, mass vaccination in the U.S. has freed those inoculated against coronavirus to travel freely, dine without masks, fly with confidence, and overall cause leisure travel in the U.S. to pick up dramatically.

“The early rebound has been huge,” noted Glusac. “The surge we anticipated hit earlier and harder than expected. It started with spring break, and travelers returned to find scarce rental cars and expensive flights and reservations.

“The number of air passengers in the United States has quadrupled in recent weeks, though compared to 2020 remains down 30 percent, mainly due to lack of business and foreign travel,” Glusac explained.

What has continued to appeal to travelers is the “call of nature.” When the pandemic urged social isolation, many found solace in nature, and that trend has continued in the wake of vaccine rollouts, according to Glusac. Tourism is surging in Alaska, Hawaii and the national parks. This spring, the majority of travelers in Great Britain chose camping as a means to vacation. Greece and Croatia are expecting a busy summer based on beach and outdoor lifestyle options.

The call to embrace nature has gotten louder due to climate change, Glusac said. A continuing travel trend will be to heal the planet. The pandemic’s pause in tourism gave many destinations a healing breather. Furthermore, travelers seem to have embraced lessons learned through COVID, such as the value in supporting sustainability efforts and patronizing locally owned restaurants and shops, as well as taking longer trips afforded by work-from-anywhere policies.

“I also think there’s a new awareness of where the money goes that has taken hold during the pandemic,” added Glusac. “Personal and planetary wellness seemed to align during the pandemic.”

According to Glusac, that notion isn’t changing anytime soon.