Will the Pandemic Cause a Boom in Psychedelic Retreats?

Published 13 October 2020

As we explain in Top Five Wellness Travel Trends 2021, wellbeing-focused travellers are disillusioned with Western medicine – and employing psychedelics to meet wellness goals. Hong Kong tour operator Behold Retreats leans into this trend with its plant medicine excursions, which provide personalised psilocybin and ayahuasca holidays to legal markets.

Will the Pandemic Cause a Boom in Psychedelic Retreats?

Behold Retreats

Each retreat is tailored to guest preferences. Not only does this provide a safe environment, but it also acknowledges the individualised attitudes towards health that increasingly prevails, a phenomenon we detail in Empowering Future Patients. Guests receive support pre-departure with education and meditation courses. Following the psychedelic experience, guests have a discussion with a qualified therapist to help them decode what they saw and felt, a method intended to foster positive psychedelic experiences. All retreats take place in countries where the psychedelic being consumed – whether psilocybin, ayahuasca or San Pedro cactus – is legal.

These types of psychedelic experiences are slowly starting to infiltrate mass wellness consciousness, such as Dutch retreat Synthesis – profiled in our Future Thinking Podcast – and London’s psychedelic-inspired music experience Wavepaths – featured in our report Highbrow Hedonists. Behold Retreat’s hyper-individualised format could also appeal to the experimental, interest-driven travellers we identify in Meet the Mass-Niche Travellers.

More broadly, Behold Retreats reiterates the importance of looking to the natural world and holistic remedies when devising forward-thinking travel-wellness programmes, as we mention in Detoxifying the Hotel. With mental health deteriorating due to the pandemic (see New-Era Living: Revising Relationships), it’s possible we could see a rise in this type of alternative medicine retreat to boost wellbeing. Especially as consumers change their expectations and habits in response to pandemic stressors, it’s probable that they’ll embrace new practices and norms, of which psychedelic and alternative medicine retreats will likely form a large part.

For more on psychedelics, see Beyond Burnout and Are Psychedelics the Next Cannabis?.