A 20-million-euro tourism investment – the Euphoria Retreat – aims to establish Greece as an ideal wellness tourism destination, attract “seasoned” travelers to the Peloponnese, and boost the economy.
Situated in the foothills of Mount Taygetos in Mystras, near Sparti, the Euphoria Retreat will open its doors on July 15. It consists of 45 rooms and suites as well as communal areas designed with the five Taoist elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – in mind, to offer five-star wellbeing services, holistic treatments, alternative medicine, yoga, physical and mindfulness exercises.
“Mystras – an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Laconia, and the Peloponnese in general, are destinations with great potential for development and significant prospects. The very fact that a project like this in a new, up-and-coming destination managed to secure funding makes the investment significant. We believe that we can strengthen the national and local tourist product by enriching the range of services and experiences offered to visitors,” Greek entrepreneur Marina Efraimoglou told Greek daily Kathimerini.
Efraimoglou has teamed up with the Cologne-based Healing Hotels of the World group to establish Greece’s first holistic wellness center, which is targeted at a better informed traveler seeking specialized experiences… “experiences centered on man and on the triptych body – soul – spirit,” she tells Kathimerini.
“And this is a visible change in everyday lifestyle habits and in the demands of many travelers,” she said, citing a 2016 IPK International report on behalf of ITB Berlin, which found that 11.4 million trips in 2016 were for health and wellness purposes, with Europe being the world’s leading tourism destination, representing 37 percent of the market.
The wellness traveler is “loyal”, she says, “it’s a significant segment of travelers, relatively high income, who put wellness travels at the top of their list and travel regularly, constantly seeking new experiences”.
Efraimoglou adds that the increase in tourism figures over the last years in Greece, and the trust in the sector is demonstrated by large investment groups which are putting money into popular tourist destinations and into special interest tourism.