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Board of Directors

About the WTA

The WTA is the voice of the wellness tourism industry.

The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) is a global network for qualifying DMOs, Hotels/Resorts/Retreats, Tour Operators, Travel Advisors, Wellness Practitioners, Media, Partners, and others in the growing global wellness tourism industry.

We offer anyone connected to, or interested in, any aspect of wellness tourism the opportunity to become a member and help shape the industry’s future.

We are one community, working together to support the sustainable future of wellness tourism for the global good.

Photo credit: WTA Member Meliá Punta Cana Beach

Member Benefits

As the voice and advocate of wellness tourism, we support our members and advance the growth of our industry through:

EDUCATION – by sharing knowledge and expertise on the latest trends and research.

SETTING STANDARDS – by recognizing legitimate and credible suppliers and operators.

BUILDING CONNECTIONS – by creating a global network of accessible industry leaders.

HELPING YOU SUCCEED – by raising the profile of your business and the industry as a whole.

Join Our Global Network

Incorporated as a not-for-profit in the United States and launched in January 2018, WTA currently has over 100 members and partners from across the globe.

Check out the WTA Directory

Ultimately, being a WTA member gives you a voice in establishing industry standards and criteria to help bring clarity, identify legitimate partners and support the sustainable growth of the wellness tourism industry. If you’d like to be considered for membership, you can apply now.

Message from the Board of Directors

Welcome to the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA). This association has been created to offer anyone connected to, or interested in, any aspect of wellness tourism an opportunity to become a member and, subsequently, have a voice in the industry, along with the opportunity to help shape its future and sustainability.

To that end, we have introduced criteria for the various categories and formed the very basis of industry standards. We have also introduced the industry’s first Glossary of Industry Terms, as definitions are an effective way to create standards and credibility in a field that is global, broad, and attractive to many operators and companies seeking a competitive edge.

While people have traveled both nationally and internationally with health or wellness the primary focus since the time since the Roman Baths, wellness tourism as a global industry remains relatively new. The WTA defines Wellness Tourism as “A specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and/or activities primarily focused on serving the wellness-minded consumer and those who want to be.”

As an association, it is crucial that we work together to help define our industry, as well as educate the public so they can recognize legitimate and credible wellness suppliers and operators. The WTA also collaborates with leading wellness organizations and education authorities for the benefit of the industry to ensure a consistent and unified message and development for wellness tourism.

Our primary goals are to:

As with all associations, the goals and objectives will be determined by the members. We encourage you to join us in helping shape the future of this growing and still developing global industry. Join us and help shape the future of wellness tourism. The Board of Directors Wellness Tourism Association

WTA Board of Directors

Anne Dimon

Co-Founder and President /CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, Anne Dimon has been a travel writer and industry journalist for close to 25 years and has traveled the world as a columnist/contributor to a wide variety of publications. Anne is also the Owner/ Editor of TravelToWellness.com launched in 2004 as the first online magazine/resource for the wellness-minded traveler. Prior to her life as a journalist, Anne was president of her own public relations company specializing in hospitality. She has also worked in the hotel industry as a director of public relations. An acknowledged wellness travel expert and industry consultant, Anne is also the co-author of The Travel Institute’s new Wellness Travel Specialist Course, a collaboration with the WTA.

Barbara Nichuals

Based in Bronxville, NY, Barbara Nichuals has been President & CEO of Bayside Travel for over 34 years and has embraced Wellness Travel for the power it has to heal mind, body and spirit. As a dancer, Barbara has found the activity to bring inner peace and well-being. She understands that the path to wellness can look different for each person. To fulfill each client’s individual needs and wants, she actively pursues personalized wellness experiences with the help of countless partnerships. She also runs a yearly writing workshop at the Bereavement Center of Westchester called Healing Words-The Positive Power of Writing.


Opened in 2012, The Art of Living Retreat Center is the newest outgrowth of the Art of Living Foundation’s 30+ year global commitment to health, happiness and Ayurveda. Nestled in a majestic setting in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the center offers immersive wellness experiences that are inspired by authentic traditions of yoga and Ayurveda. From signature workshops in the life-transforming power of breath and meditation to cleanses that have been practiced for thousands of years, the experiences at the center and its Shankara Ayurveda Spa provide timeless tools that help guests tap into their potential for lasting health and happiness.

Lauren Chiang

As CEO and Founder of My Global Life, LLC (MGL), Laurent Chiang focuses on international luxury and active/sports lifestyle wellness retreats and resort marketing. Lauren excels in creating co-branded wellness experiences with partner hotels, emphasizing the integration of wellness, culture, and sustainability. As a member of the Board of Directors and Brand Ambassador for the Wellness Tourism Association, she is committed to establishing industry standards that propel the industry forward. Her practical approach and in-depth industry knowledge are vital to her goal of enriching wellness and luxury, active lifestyle spaces across the globe.

Lauren’s career began in 1989 as Founder and CEO of CMC Travel Services, Inc. in San Francisco, where she quickly gained recognition for handling complex travel arrangements and offering personalized VIP experiences for executives. The San Francisco Business Times acknowledged her firm as one of the Bay Area’s fastest-growing businesses and a leading female-owned company. Her leadership roles also include founding an Adventure Eco Tour company and a Concierge lifestyle company.

Lauren’s credentials as a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Pricing Strategy Advisor, and ePro designations have positioned her as a knowledgeable adviser in international resort partnerships and marketing strategies.
Kiron Dhaliwal

Founder and President of Concierge Vacations Inc. and luxury travel advisor Kiron Dhaliwal launched the San Ramon-based company in 2014 following her own personal journey.  A former tech marketing consultant in Silicon Valley, she took a leave of absence in 2005 to care for her son’s medical needs. She educated herself on rare diseases and worked with the medical teams to see her son through a successful stem-cell transplant at Duke University. This experience led her on her own wellness journey to heal her mind, body and soul as she visited numerous wellness resorts around the globe, speaking with and learning from various specialists and healers. Concierge Vacations was launched to help clients along their own personal journeys, by mapping their personal wellness intentions to the best-fit suppliers of wellness experiences. Her special interest in medical wellness helps clients discover ways to live longer, healthier lives through preventative measures. Kiron also consults with brands to provide knowledge and insight from both an advisor and a client perspective.

John Nielsen

General Manager & International Sales Developments at Fivelements Retreat Bali, John Nielsen is a multilingual hospitality director with extensive senior management and entrepreneurial experience with hospitality and education operations across Asia, Europe and Australia including work with notable hotel brands Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and Hyatt Hotels. John spent 3-years in Les Roches Hotel Management School in Shanghai at the famed Swiss Hotel Management School as Program Manager & Sales & Marketing Manager, followed by Campus Director of Blue Mountains Hotel Management School in Suzhou, and later returning home to Melbourne to take up the Program Manager role, responsible for setting up the school’s International Hotel Leadership Master’s Program. He joined Fivelements Retreat Bali in early 2019 to steer the award-winning wellness destination through local and international expansion.

As Associate VP at Miraval Resorts, Dina Niekamp passionately leverages strategic innovation in sales and marketing to advance the brand’s mission of enhancing guest wellbeing. Drawing from extensive expertise in the luxury hospitality sector, her visionary leadership in brand development is instrumental in propelling Miraval’s international expansion. Dina’s unwavering commitment to the brand’s philosophy stems from her personal dedication to promoting a balanced life, where professional success seamlessly intertwines with personal wellness.
Her remarkable journey through renowned luxury brands such as Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, and Waldorf-Astoria has equipped her with the expertise to formulate strategies that capture market share and drive revenue, even in fiercely competitive environments. Dina’s creative spark was ignited during her involvement in launching the groundbreaking Virgin Hotels with Sir Richard Branson, as well as her pivotal role in renovating a historic building to introduce the opulent Kimpton Gray Hotel. Her enthusiasm and expertise continue to drive impactful change in the industry.
Deirdre Strunk

Deirdre Strunk, Sr. VP Canyon Ranch Spa, Fitness, Beauty and Retail, has over 20 years of experience as a leader and business executive. Deirdre joined Canyon Ranch in 2015 and quickly established herself as a growth-oriented innovator with deep expertise in operations, programming, and merchandising. With a flair for delighting guests, Deidre elevated Canyon Ranch’s approach and firmly strengthened its position as the gold standard and industry leader in the category. Under her direction, Canyon Ranch’s Spa, Beauty, Fitness, and Retail business have flourished in sales, profit, and both employee and customer satisfaction. Deirdre’s cardinal strength is her devotion to excellence across her wide span of responsibilities. She upholds the highest standards for the services and products offered by Canyon Ranch. Dedicated to continuous improvement, Deirdre researches and studies the latest modalities and shares this knowledge with her team by directing intense training and skill development.


Prior to Canyon Ranch, Deirdre’s career spanned an impressive set of companies and roles. Her many experiences include serving as the Director of Spa & Salon Operations at South Point Hotel Casino and Director of Spa & Salon Operations for Westin Hotels and Resorts. Trained as a licensed massage therapist, aesthetician, yoga, and group fitness instructor, Deirdre knows the business from the ground up. Her avocation is also her passion, having dedicated her entire career to bringing the benefits and rewards of beauty and fitness to countless people. Deirdre has shared her insights and talents for the betterment of her profession and her community. She currently serves on the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapy as Vice-Chair and is a Board Member of the Las Vegas Spa Association (LVAS). She was invited by the Department of Defense to serve as a member of the Technical Assistance Group to enact an interstate compact for Massage Therapy. She was previously the Commissioner for the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) and Chairman of the Board for the Southern Nevada’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Southern Nevada Chapter where she currently serves as Vice-Chair.


Her accolades include 2014 and 2018 LLS All-Star Woman of the Year, 2012 LVAS Humanitarian of the Year, and 2015 LVAS Spa Director of the Year.


Max Brennan

Max Brennan, CEO of HUM@Nmedia Inc., a prominent wellness media network and agency in Canada, is dedicated to promoting wellness. His mission is to assist individuals on their wellness journeys by sharing valuable stories and knowledge. Max’s professional career commenced in the tourism and hospitality sector at the age of 13. Over the years, he has gained experience as a personal trainer, gourmet plant-based food educator, marketing expert, and writer. His diverse background underscores his steadfast commitment to wellness.

Glossary of Wellness Tourism Industry Terms

Following through with the WTA mission to bring standards, definitions and clarity to the wellness sector of the tourism industry, the WTA introduced the first Glossary of Industry Terms back in April of 2018. The Glossary has become the basis for common understanding, plus further define and help establish basic standards for this growing global sector of the industry. New terms will be added as the industry continues to evolve.  

Wellness Tourism

A specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and/or activities primarily focused on serving the wellness-minded consumer and those who want to be.

Wellness Vacation/Holiday  

Wellness Vacation / Holiday is Wellness Travel powered by a wellness-focused intention. Wellness Vacations/Holidays are typically self-directed with the traveler setting his or her own timetable and schedule. They may also include a multi-day Wellness Retreat.

Wellness Travel

Travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing.


A Wellness Traveler is an individual who makes wellness the primary purpose of a trip.

Wellness Resort

Also referred to as a Wellness Sanctuary or Wellness Clinic in some parts of the world.

Any facility with accommodations and a range of hospitality services where the primary purpose is to provide programs and experiences for the Wellness Traveler. The Wellness Resort is comprised of four primary elements: accommodations, a variety of wellness activities, healthy dining options and wellness-related facilities. 

Wellness Destination

A geographical area that fosters and promotes wellness as an integral part of life within the community and economics of the region.

Wellness Retreat

In today’s world, Wellness Retreat has TWO definitions

  1. A guided, intention-driven, multi-day program with a set or semi-set schedule, and hosted by one or more facilitators. The program may include learning and lifestyle workshops such as meditation and healthy eating, as well as fitness activities such as yoga, nature walks and hiking.

  2. A smaller facility with accommodations and hospitality services and where the primary purpose is to provide programs and experiences for the Wellness Traveler. The facility may have fewer wellness activities, services and facilities than a Wellness Resort.

Medical Wellness

Medical Wellness can refer to multi-day retreats, programs, packages or services that are administered by medical professionals but are deemed to be more proactive/preventative than reactive (such as reacting to pain, a medical condition or the need/desire for surgery.) Retreats/programs for sleep, stress management, prevention of age-associated conditions, and medical testing for the early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions are examples of Medical Wellness.


As the industry continues to evolve and the need arises, we will add new terms to the glossary.

Stay up-to-date on industry news and trends!