According to GWI Wellness Economy Monitor, Wellness tourism is travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing. This market includes two types of wellness tourists: those who take a trip entirely for wellness purposes (primary wellness tourists) and those who seek to engage in wellness activities as part of any kind of trip (secondary wellness tourists). The emerging global middle class; rising disposable incomes; and growing consumer interest in health, travel, and new experiences are all fueling strong demand – propelling wellness tourism into a $563.2 billion global market in 2015.From 2013- 2015, wellness tourism expenditures grew by 6.8% annually in U.S. dollars which is much higher than the 3.4% annual U.S. dollar increase for overall tourism.
Global Wellness- Specific Tourism Revenues by Segment
Travelers made 691 million wellness trips in 2015, which is 104 million (17%) more trips than in 2013. Wellness trips account for 6.5% of all tourism trips, but represent 15.6% of total tourism expenditures.
Wellness travelers are high-yield tourists, spending much more per trip than non-wellness travelers. Wellness tourists tend to have higher disposable incomes, tend to be older and more educated, and typically take longer trips, so their spending patterns are higher than the average tourist. International wellness tourists on average spent $1,613 per trip in 2015, 61% more than the typical international tourist. The premium for domestic wellness tourists is even higher, spending an average of $654 per trip, 164% higher than the typical domestic tourist.
The bulk of wellness tourism is done by secondary wellness tourists (those who seek wellness experiences during their travel), which account for 89% of wellness tourism trips and have been growing faster than primary wellness trips since 2013. Most wellness tourism is done by domestic tourists (both primary and secondary), driven by short-haul and weekend trips, and accounting for 83% of all wellness trips. However, international wellness tourism growth has outpaced domestic wellness tourism growth from 2013-2015.
Wellness tourism is heavily concentrated in the key markets of North America, Europe, and Asia- Pacific. Europe is the destination of the largest number of wellness trips. Total wellness expenditures in Europe were USD 193 billion in 2015. GWI believes that the wellness economy will continue an upward growth trajectory that is resilient to economic disruptions and geopolitical events. The wellness tourism is projected to grow at an annual average 7.5% during the next 3 years and will reach USD 808 billion in 2020. The growth will be driven by:
- An emerging global middle class with rising disposable income to spend on improving their quality of life and their future outlook.
- An increasing consumer interest in all things related to maintaining and improving health, driven by aging, a rising global epidemic of chronic disease and stress, the negative health impacts of environmental degradation, and the failure of the “sick-care” medical model to improve quality of life.
- Collective, growing awareness among a subset of (more educated and affluent) consumers that their choices convey meaning purpose, and impact beyond their own personal gratification. Consumers are increasingly seeking experiences that are rooted in authenticity and nature, and that connect them to the wellbeing of other people and the planet.
Wellness is a much desired and pursued theme by urban and leisure hotels and major hotel chains. Hotels are experimenting with spas, quiet zones, oxygen bars, yoga, fitness, gym and aromatherapy products to impart a sense of calm relaxation and wellness to guests. Where hotels are in leisure segment or urban, budget or luxury – wellness is now a most desired goal.