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4 Mar, 2019

ITB Berlin good place to start monitoring “mental health” of Travel & Tourism executives

As the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest trade show, gets under way today, it may be a good time to shine a light on one of the most important UN Sustainable Development Goals – improved global health, or more specifically, mental health.

“Health and Wellness” is one of the most high profile niche-market segments of travel & tourism. Glitzy images offer a multiplicity of therapies, massages and diets to refresh, relax and rejuvenate. The targets are the millions of people suffering from stress, trauma, depression, hypertension, substance abuse, and a host of other such ailments.

As those attending ITB Berlin know well, many of those same problems afflict travel & tourism personnel and executives, both blue and white-collar. Certainly, human resources departments would be well aware of the extent, especially amongst the major corporations. What about industry-wide, globally?

If travel & tourism claims to be a conduit for enhancing the health and wellness of others, shouldn’t it putting its own house in order first?

That will happen, perhaps more later than sooner, but it will happen.

The latest 12th edition of The Olive Tree, the first and only publication designed to forge a stronger linkage between travel & tourism and the UN SDGs, reports on a initiative taken by a partnership of eminent medical institutions to establish a “Countdown Global Mental Health 2030.”

It is arguably the first time this critical challenge is being flagged in travel & tourism.

For many decades, mental health practitioners have watched the purveyors of physical health get the lion’s share of prominence. Billions of dollars are poured into researching cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. Now, they too want their day in the sun. If SDG 3 is all about Good Health and Well Being, they argue, should it not cover mental health, an equally monumental problem?

Mental health issues cut across all demographic age groups, increasingly amongst young people. They trigger everything from reduced workplace productivity to domestic violence. While physical health deficiencies are in most cases apparent immediately, mental health conditions lie dormant for years before manifesting themselves in many often unpredictable ways.

Several decades ago, nobody paid much attention to the environmental impact of anything, including tourism. Health & wellness, too, was just an abstract concept. Today, both are mainstream agenda items. Mental health is set to be the next big thing.

Putting the issue on the agenda of major travel trade shows such as the ITB Berlin will certainly give all the “thought-leaders” something to think about.

Download the latest Olive Tree by clicking on the image below.