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New Association Will Accredit Healthy Destinations

By / Jul 29, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A new nonprofit organization founded by six resort hotels aims to help travelers in their search for healthy destinations through a new certification process that will evaluate hotels’ wellness programs and services.

Planning a meeting or traveling for business and in search of a hotel that offers wellness programs and amenities? Health nut or not, if you’re in the market for a health-focused travel destination, a newly formed association may be able to help you find what you’re looking for.

The recently launched Institute for Health Destination Accreditation, currently comprising six U.S. resort hotels as founding members, is working to help evaluate hotels as “healthy travel destinations” based on a science-based certification process.

“Our mission is to be the trusted source for both travel destinations and consumers, including business travelers, seeking the best possible healthy guest experience,” IHDA cofounder and Chief Science Officer Mary Ellen Rose said in a statement. “Offering consumers a portfolio of destinations committed to the healthy guest experience is one of the many ways we are creating the health and wellness standard in hospitality.”

Interested hotels can apply for certification via an online questionnaire, which calculates whether the destination’s programs, services, amenities, and facilities meet certain baseline standards to provide guests with a healthy experience. Those properties that receive certification are eligible for a variety of benefits, including

  • a member listing in the association’s Healthy Travel Directory
  • IHDA’s support in developing and implementing health promotion programs
  • access to IHDA’s social network, where hotels can engage with health-conscious travelers
  • use of IHDA’s “Approved Healthy Destination” logo on marketing materials.

The six founding IHDA members include the Breakers Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Florida; Mauna Kea Resort-Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Waimea, Hawaii; the Couer d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; the Hotel del Coronoado in San Diego; and the Airlie in Warrenton, Virginia.

The association hopes that promoting and certifying hotel health and wellness programs will encourage travelers to make healthier lifestyle choices beyond the dates of their stay.

“Hotels and resorts can serve as the seed from which all healthy options sprout,” Alex Cha, IHDA membership sales coordinator, wrote in a blog post. “Healthy travel options tend to extend outwardly to attract guests, but they can also take root at the resort itself where opportunities for educating guests on the value of a healthy lifestyle can come in many forms.  That healthy knowledge learned at the resort can continue long after the guest has left the destination and returned home.”

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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