Psychedelic Tourism: Take a Trip to Your Trip

Image: Synthesis

Psychedelic tourism is on the rise.

  • Psychedelic wellness retreat and training hub Synthesis Institute closed a $7.25M Series A last month.
  • Addiction care company Universal Ibogaine just listed on the Toronto Exchange and acquired Kelburn Clinic to support its psychedelic-based treatments.
  • Oregon-based Silo Wellness teamed up with Mushe to set up mushroom outlets in Jamaica, bolstering its psychedelic wellness vertical.

Acid redux. Before the pandemic, psychedelic retreat growth was up 73% in countries where the substances are legal, such as Jamaica, Costa Rica, and the Netherlands.

As travel inches back to pre-2020 levels, the psychedelic tourism market is gaining traction once again from those beyond the boho movement. As Paul Austin, founder of both Synthesis and Third Wave, points out:

“We get lots of wealthy professionals who are either looking for spiritual growth, or to help boost creativity. We’ve had a cross-section of both male and female professionals, from doctors, and investment bankers, to film directors, CEOs, and start-up founders.”

Set and setting. As psychedelics go mainstream, many believe they will fundamentally change how we treat mental health. But, as experienced psychonauts know, the conditions you’re in can seriously influence your trip, for better or for worse.

For those seeking to capture the full benefits of a psychedelic experience, hopping on a plane to a wellness center—with trained shamans, pleasant accommodations, and even medical screenings—is a no-brainer.

And when it comes to legalization, many see retreats as the first step. A group model for therapy is “essential if psychedelics are ever going to be scaled up and delivered to the mainstream in a safe, feasible and affordable manner,” asserts Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).

Some caveats. Critics have taken issue with wealthy, foreign visitors co-opting ancient indigenous practices and ceremonies. Meanwhile, a number of troubling sexual assault scandals have caught the public eye.

Next up, wellness tourism in general is gaining, expected to soar to $1.2T by 2027. Anticipating a pandemic-driven boom, health guru Deepak Chopra is all-in on a series of integrative health retreats.

Punchline: The line between wellness and hallucinogenic trips is blurring. As psychedelic tourism heats up, retreats will provide an all-inclusive solution for a growing number of trippers who are unwilling to wait for legalization.