Wellness: Nip Tuck Tourism

Dallas Beauty Spa and Wellness Marketing

The Dos and Don’ts of Nip Tuck Tourism

Tips from board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Zannis: zannisplasticsurgery.com

Thinking of going off the grid to get a little work done? You’re tapping into a growing trend. These days more and more people are seeking great doctors in locations beyond New York and Beverly Hills. While jetting off to South America for some plastic surgery may be too distant, there are plenty of calmer more serene cities for those who don’t want the crowds and fast pace of a big city. Board certified plastic surgeon and best selling author Dr. John Zannis, based in coastal North Carolina caters to patients from all over the world. Here are his dos and don’ts when it comes to Nip Tuck Tourism to ensure you get the best doctors, support staff, post-op recovery and overall experience.

Do: Consider a smaller city. When it comes time for recovery, resting and avoiding stress is key. Smaller cities have a cozy, home away from home feel. Imagine going outside for a walk or sitting peacefully outside with sounds of nature instead of traffic. Being in a serene environment helps you heal.

Don’t: Skimp on the pre-arrival consultation and follow up communication. Verifying that you are a candidate for the procedure you want is extremely important before flying anywhere. Be ready for a few Skype consults with your surgeon, sharing pictures and keeping in touch over phone and e-mail leading up to your scheduled procedure.

Do: Consider your physician’s lodging recommendations. Many doctors already have relationships with local hotels and bed and breakfasts and can make solid recommendations. Your doctor will also know the type of accommodations you’ll need: will a simple suite do or do you need a full home-style living space for longer recovery procedures?

Do: Fly in a couple of days before your surgery is scheduled. This allows you to meet with the doctor and staff before the big day and become comfortable with your surroundings.

Do: Take the appropriate amount of time off. Dr. Zannis explains, “depending on the procedure, you’ll be able to return home in just 24 hours, while others may require a follow up visit in 7 days.  You want to allow adequate healing time for any swelling and pain to subside before traveling back home.”

Don’t: Forget your insurance cards. Although most cosmetic procedures aren’t covered by insurance, you’ll still need your insurance information to get your prescriptions filled.

Do: Plan ahead and pack wisely. “It’s important to pack loose fitting zip front shirts and wide comfortable bottoms, a pillow to place between yourself and the car/plane seatbelt, a spill proof large water bottle, and throat relievers for post-op soreness,” suggests Dr. Zannis.

And finally Do: Plan some nice activities and meals! Remember this is your time to relax, recover and enjoy. Think low-key and relaxing. When you get your appetite back you’ll want a great meal. As days pass and more and more healing takes place you’ll want to go for nice walks, explore nature, or just read and unwind by a fireplace or lake. These little things contribute to making you feel better and heal after a procedure. You’ll return with a new look, while feeling completely refreshed.

For more about Dr. John Zannis, his New Bern, North Carolina practice and their Makeover Getaway Program, visit zannisplasticsurgery.com

Wellness: Affordable Spring-Break Retreats


Blue Lagoon — Grindavik, Iceland

Although Iceland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of spring break, the country's abundance of all natural geothermal spas does make it a top candidate for anyone in need of a little rest and relaxation. Lauded as one of National Geographic's "25 Wonders of the World," the Blue Lagoon's mineral-rich geothermal seawater has developed an international reputation for its healing effects on the skin, and for good reason — the combination of naturally occurring minerals, silica, and algae are known to stimulate collagen synthesis, the process that gives skin its smooth, youthful appearance. The standard rate of €40 ($44) is a rather small price to pay for four hours in a 100-degree, nine million-liter fountain of youth.

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa — Alajuela, Costa Rica

Spanning more than seven acres 4,900 feet above sea level, Pura Vida Retreat and Spa is where you go to find peace in the clouds. The resort's customized three, five, and seven-night mind-body-spirit packages include everything from room accommodations and meals to yoga sessions, massages, eco-adventures, and guided coffee plantation hikes. They even throw in round trip airport transfers to boot. Package rates start as low as $655 per person and nightly rates start at $115.

Tassajara — Carmel Valley, California

Situated in a mountain valley just inland from the iconic Big Sur coast, Tassajara is one of the three practice communities that comprise the San Francisco Zen Center. If you're looking for a later break, beginning in April, Tassajara offers Engaging Earth Retreats with a special focus on nature, wildflowers, and the culinary arts. Whether you sign up for "Cooking and Gardening in the Heart of Tassajara" or the "Zen of Baking," you will have the opportunity to practice bringing the art of Zen more fully into your daily life as you grow more intimate with Tassajara's gardens and kitchen. Retreat rates start at $225.

Travel: Sub-Saharan Africa

Amin & Co. - Wellness Tourism Marketing

Economic growth has helped make Sub-Saharan Africa the world’s fastest-growing market for wellness tourism, and North Africa the second fastest, according to a Stanford Research Institute report for Miami-based Global Wellness Institute.

The Stanford study covered Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, among others.

Wellness travel is travel for the purpose of promoting well being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities, according to Travelmarketreport.com.

In 2013, sub-Sahara saw 4.2 million wellness trips with visitors spending $3.2 billion on wellness. This was a $575-million increase over 2012.

This increase is partly due to economic growth of countries such as South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria, which all increased presence and demand of wellness players, TourismReview reports.

North Africa was the second fastest-growing area for wellness tourism, along with the Middle East. Though wealthier than sub-Saharan Africa, it had a slower rate of growth despite 7 million wellness trips and $7.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

A 2015 Trend Report by Spafinder identified some travel trends and made some predictions about how the market will evolve and what customers will want and expect for 2015 and coming years, TourismReview reports.

Here area few of the findings:

  • Spas are combining the concept of wellness with an old-but-new-again product: cannabis. After its liberalization in some North American states, high-end tours with luxury experiences are emerging.
  • In Africa and the Middle East, spas are increasingly enhancing wellness treatments with Islamic cures that go beyond hammams. They’re rediscovering the benefits of dust-baths, mud-baths,  and the factors, ingredients and experiences tied to local wellness culture, according to TourismReview.
  • Social fitness is becoming more about a sense of belonging to a community. Groups attend big fitness events but also visit venues such as traditional spas that offer special packages. This trend is seeing exponential growth by specialized tour operators, according to TourismReview.
  • The luxury trend in wellness at the most exclusive venues is not about celebrities but about experiences, TourismReview reports. New luxury means exotic and local — plenty of space and solitude. Less is more.
  • In 2015 expect a new ritual in travel: spas in airports. Air carriers offer arriving passengers wellness services in their lounges as a courtesy service for jet-lag recovery.

Europe and North America are leading the wellness tourism market, according to the Stanford Research Institute report. Asia ranks third, TourismReview reports.


Spa: 5 MUST-Visit Global Spas

South Africa: Karkloof Safari Spa
Set within the heart of a scenic game reserve, Africa’s largest spa and 5 star resort is the ultimate upmarket retreat. Enhance your well-being with a choice of wellness programmes, from detox to weight management, whilst enjoying nutritious organic cuisine and exploring an exotic list of natural spa treatments, with up to eleven treatments each day. Experience an unforgettable adventure through the African wilderness with your own private guide and vehicle, or work up a sweat with guided hikes and mountain biking trips.

Thailand: Soneva Kiri 
Escape to the secluded Thai island of Koh Kood where luxury wellness retreat Soneva Kiri takes indulgence to a whole new level. Taking inspiration from local Asian practices, the Six Senses Spa offers a range of holistic treatments which complement a choice of tailor-made yoga, detox, de-stress and fitness programmes. Reach new heights with Treepod dining; a culinary experience of the utmost luxury. Suspended in the forest canopy, take in breath-taking coastline views, whilst your waiter delivers gourmet delights via zip line. 


Bali: Como Shambhala
Set in 9 acres of lush tropical surroundings, this multi-award winning retreat offers a holistic approach to luxury wellness. Choose from a number of tailor-made wellness programmes, from detox to fitness, whilst giving a boost to your well-being with healthy cuisine, a dedicated Ayurvedic doctor, yoga and daily morning walks. Pay a visit to healing spring waters of The Source or unwind by the infinity pool of your own private villa, whilst having your every need taken care of by your own personal assistant

Oman: Zighy Bay
Unwind in the lap of luxury at Zighy Bay in Oman, where ancient holistic treatments at the Six Senses Spa and expert wellness consultants will set you on the right path towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. From cleansing detox diets, to yogic practice, personal fitness and adrenaline fuelled adventure activities, this luxury wellness retreat caters to your every desire. Raise your heart rate with paragliding or scuba diving and make the most of Zighy Bay’s secluded private bay on a traditional dhow cruise at sunset.

Turks & Caicos: Parrot Cay
It doesn’t get more exclusive than a luxury wellness retreat situated on its own private island. Guests seeking the ultimate luxury escape can rent their own private ocean villa, complete with a dedicated butler to meet your every need. Heal with holistic therapies at the award-winning spa, explore the coastline with catamaran sailing and stand-up paddle boarding, and complete your well-being venture with daily beach yoga and Pilates classes. Dine in style with private beach picnics, tiki hut dinners or pool side meals at your private villa. 

Travel: Cuba Questions Answered

Since President Barack Obama loosened restrictions on Cuba travel Jan. 16, travelers have been eager to explore the island nation.

“We are seeing an even bigger surge in interest,” says Lindsay White, sales manager for National Geographic Expeditions. “To meet the demand for travel to Cuba, we’ve recently added new dates, with more than 40 trips departing through June 2016.”

“With the President’s announcement we are engaged with our land and hotel partners in Cuba to obtain space for additional departures through 2016 so that we can meet the high demand for the destination,” notes Terri Burke, director, national accounts for Globus.

How can Americans go to Cuba legally?

Americans wanting to visit Cuba no longer need a special government license. But it’s not as easy as hopping on a plane. General Cuba travel is still not allowed.

U.S. visitors need to fit into one of 12 categories:

  1. Family visits
  2. Government and intergovernmental business
  3. Journalistic activities
  4. Professional research and meetings
  5. Educational activities
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  8. Support for the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of foundations, research, or educational institutions
  11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information
  12. Certain export transactions


Licensed tours of Cuba emphasize interaction with local people

Americans on an approved trip can use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba, once banks in both countries develop systems to work together. They can also bring back up to $400 in souvenirs (including $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco, including Cuban cigars).

U.S. air carriers have not started direct flights to Cuba. Katharine Bonner, vice president, River & Small Ship Cruising at Tauck, points out that scheduled flights won’t be available for some time. Slots are limited, Cuban airports are small, and US carries will have to be granted rights for the routes. U.S.-flagged cruise lines are still prohibited from stopping in Cuba; only Congress can change that. 

Which companies are licensed for Cuba travel?

Nine Virtuoso partners are licensed to operate trips to Cuba:

Working through a Virtuoso travel advisor who specializes in Cuba can ensure you’re getting the vacation you want.

Hearing Cuban musicians perform and interacting with them is a highlight on many tours.

Who’s traveling to Cuba?

Tour operators emphasize that Cuba is not your typical sun-and-sand Caribbean destination.

“We see a surge in interest among baby boomers – those folks who were school children during the Cuban missile crisis and are very curious to meet Cubans and see the country,” explains Tauck’s Bonner.

“Our Globus programs are for people who are interested in active learning and meeting and interacting with people from a different culture,” Burke comments. “The interactions we facilitate have allowed Americans and Cubans to speak freely to each other and learn about each other’s lives, education, careers, families and hopes for the future. The participants in our Cuba programs have engaged with Cuban people in a way that is very meaningful and not always possible when traveling on your own to a foreign land.” 

What activities do Cuba travel experiences emphasize?

Licensed operators need to provide a “people-to-people” itinerary, where Americans are able to get acquainted with Cubans, their history, their artistic traditions and their culture.

“Participants in a people-to-people program should be prepared that they are not traditional tourists to Cuba,” advises Burke. “These activities are thoroughly engaging and the types of experiences that have made many of our travelers say that their Globus trip to Cuba was one of the best of their life!”

Cuba travel tineraries could include:

  • Going to a club to enjoy authentic music
  • Enjoying a ride in 1950s cars
  • Meals at locally owned small private restaurants
  • Playing baseball and discuss the love of the game with Cuban players
  • Meeting members of the Camaguey Ballet Company and talking to them about upcoming productions
  • A visit to a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site to learn about the 19th century sugar industry
  • Walking through Old Havana with an architect
  • Sampling coffee after learning about the drink’s rich history in Cuba
  • Interacting with artists and artisans such as traditional potters
  • Meeting cigar factory workers
  • Birding excursions with local naturalists
  • Visiting an organic farm and talking with the farmers

People-to-people tours of Cuba explore the country’s rich history

What should visitors expect in Cuba?

In this year’s Virtuoso Luxe Report, Cuba was one of the top three emerging destinations named by advisors. Its ability to handle travelers on a large scale is also emerging. “There is still limited infrastructure in Cuba – and that won’t change in the foreseeable future. Hotels are limited – especially in the 3* plus category,” states Bonner.

“Cuba is not yet equipped to handle large numbers of American visitors due to limited hotel space, limited transportation options, and limited guides. There is still a long way to go (possibly several years) until the infrastructure is in place,” Burke observes.

“Cuba’s largely undiscovered tourism market is what makes this destination truly magical,” comments White of National Geographic Expeditions. “It can also mean slower service and standards, which are not conducive to travelers’ expectations while abroad. Maintaining a sense of humor and adventurous spirit will help travelers enjoy their experience in Cuba to its fullest.”

Why should you go to Cuba now?

Cuba travel has consistently been a top seller for licensed suppliers. With the U.S. policy shift, that popularity is expected to grow.

“I would encourage consumers to plan travel now – while ‘Authentica Cuba’ still exists,” says Tauck’s Bonner.

“Its long isolation from the modern world is what makes this destination truly magical,” observes White of National Geographic. “Curious travelers want to experience this country that appears frozen in time before it changes forever.”