Wellness opens the door to a whole new world of travel experiences. Consumers and businesses are thinking of travel in new ways that improve health, happiness and productivity. Vacation trips are often a catalyst for transformation, and consumers view wellness travel as a personal investment.

The first thing travel agents should know is that wellness tourism has created a new niche for travel agents to grow or expand their business while offering a personally and professionally rewarding career specialty. This is a new field, so getting in while the opportunity is young and relatively devoid of competition is critical to establishing yourself as a wellness travel agent.

Here are some of the latest wellness travel trends for travel agents to understand this growing and lucrative specialty niche market.

1. Mind matters: Consumers have caught on to vacations that offer mental restoration and reduce stress. Practices learned on a trip such as meditation, yoga, qigong and journaling can be incorporated at home to help manage stress, improve cognitive capacity and maintain emotional equilibrium.

2. Breaking bread with wellness: Food tourism is a huge trend intersecting with wellness travel. In addition to the physical aspect of sustenance, food tours, cooking classes, agriculture and farm-to-table experiences speak to the emotional, social, intellectual and sustainable aspects of well-being.

3. Looking for personal enrichment: Wellness is more than fitness and nutrition, and consumers are choosing trips that either focus solely on personal enrichment or as a part of their travel plans. Many consumers are viewing vacations, weekend getaways and retreats as a catalyst for change.

4. Affluent and altruistic: Spurned by personal growth and discovery, affluent travelers value experiences connecting them to charitable causes and local communities. Volunteering on vacation has become increasingly popular and research shows altruism can improve well-being.

5. Burgeoning secondary wellness market: There is a large segment of travelers who may not opt for wellness retreats or tours but are committed to maintaining their healthy lifestyle on the road. Air transit and hotels are investing resources to attract these guests that are both business and leisure travelers.

The bottom line: Educate yourself as much as possible by taking advantage of conferences, workshops, articles, books and other resources on wellness travel. Everyone wants to be well and thrive. The world is your oyster.