New Nonprofit Will Certify 'Healthy Travel Destinations'

Six U.S. hotels and resorts have banded together as charter members of a new nonprofit association specializing in wellness travel. Called the Institute for Health Destination Accreditation (IHDA), the association will "legitimize the business of healthy travel destinations" by certifying hotels as "healthy travel destinations," it explained in a press release.

"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 Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer Mary Ellen Rose, Ph.D., said in a statement. "We believe true health is achieved through positive encounters in every aspect of travel. Whether the joyful result of cultivated dining options, fascinating learning experiences, intriguing environmental elements or positive human interactions, IHDA-approved destinations know how to enhance productivity for the business traveler and/or improve experiences for the leisure traveler. 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."

IHDA claims to use a proprietary, science-based certification process to evaluate properties' health-related initiatives, amenities, facilities and personnel. Properties that wish to be certified as an "IHDA Approved Healthy Destination" must submit an online questionnaire that's evaluated by IHDA and, if their application is approved, pay an $850 annual membership fee. IHDA members are listed in IHDA's online "Healthy Travel Directory," receive an "IHDA Healthy Destination" logo to use for marketing and receive IHDA support with development of health promotion programs, among other benefits.

"Health-conscious travelers are an extremely important customer segment and we're confident that hundreds, if not thousands, of independents and chain-affiliated hotels and resorts will become IHDA members and participate in our certification process," said IHDA Co-Founder and President Peter Hyland.

IHDA's six founding members are: The Breakers Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla.; The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego; The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mauna Kea Resort -- Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Waimea, Hawaii; The Coeur d'Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and Airlie in Warrenton, Va.

Said David Burke, vice president sales and marketing for The Breakers Palm Beach, "We expect our accreditation with IHDA to enhance our appeal as a luxury destination to discerning, health-conscious travelers. Wellness has become a lifestyle priority for our guests, and our affiliation with IHDA as a trusted, independent source will help endorse The Breakers in that context."