Wellness tourism has a global worth of $639 billion. In 2017, there were over 830 million wellness trips representing 17% of all global tourism. Plus the average wellness traveller spends more per trip than the average tourist. Spending is 53% more when travelling internationally and 178% more for domestic travel.
What’s more, is the forecast for growth. Global wellness tourism is growing at an annual rate of 7.5% which is notably faster than the overall tourism growth prediction. The industry’s value is set to reach $919 billion by 2022 and surpass the 1 billion wellness trips per year.
So why is wellness tourism growing so fast?
What is Wellness Tourism?
Wellness tourism is a vacation, holiday or short break that puts your wellbeing at the centre of your experience. Travellers seek to relieve stress, regain a balance, pursue a personal passion or life goal or to simply kick-start a new healthier lifestyle.
Examples of a wellness trip include:
- Holidays that give the opportunity for reconnecting with nature either through their location or through activities they offer such as
- Yoga retreats are popular choices as they combine physical and spiritual stimulation with relaxation, calm and inward reflection.
- Activity-based holidays aimed at those seeking physical exhilaration.
- Creative-themed holidays where travellers can attend creative writing boot camps or artists’ retreats.
- Cultural experiences that seek to connect people with other cultures or religions.
Wellness destinations are not health farms where the objective is weight loss. Neither is it travelling to another country seeking medical treatment.
So, why is wellness tourism growing so fast?
Wellness is the tonic to the stresses of modern life and is a growing trend. Wellness dumps the fad diets and fitness crazes for a more holistic approach to health. People are realising that they are in control of their own good health.
Wellness promotes healthy ageing
Our population is ageing. In 2015, 12.3% of the world’s population was aged 60 or over. That’s around 901 million people. By 2030, this is projected to increase to 1.4 billion or 16.4% of the world’s population. And he over 85s age range will show the biggest growth.
The baby boomer generation, those currently in their 60s and early 70s, want good health to get the best out of their later years. Plus they have the money, time and conviction to make their health goals a priority.
Being in better health as we age means that a growing population will not necessarily equal a growing healthcare problem. We don’t want to be a burden or to lose purpose as we age, and the pursuit of wellness allows us to remain independent and vibrant.
Wellness empowers people
The pursuit of wellness is not dependent on firstly consulting healthcare professional. People are able to make well-informed, proactive decisions about their lives independently.
One of the biggest shifts in healthcare is the balance or power or knowledge between a patient and their doctor. The wealth of information available to us as individuals is partly responsible for this shift.
People are realising that prevention is better than cure. So improving our health means that we are in control of our health choices. We are less dependent on a prescription or drug and therefore a faceless, third party like Big Pharma.
The Wellness industry is booming
Naturally, as the overall wellness industry grows so too does wellness tourism. The popularity of mindfulness apps and plant-based diets are growing and many aspects of wellness are accessible and low cost.
Globalisation brings new wellness philosophies
Exploring other cultures can give a traveller a connection to the past, a fresh understanding of themselves or a simple sense of the one world identity. New ways of thinking can bring rejuvenation and a new zeal for life. We can access tai chi in Western countries but nothing beats the authenticity of morning practice in Bejing, for example.