Wellness Tourism Grows to $639 Billion Market

Wellness Tourism continues to rise in popularity // Photo Credit: Bicho_raro/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Wellness tourism continues to surpass overall tourism in terms of annual growth rates, according to a new report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). The Global Wellness Tourism Economy report, recently released at the World Wellness Market in London, showed that wellness tourism grew from a $563 billion market in 2015 to a $639 billion market in 2017—a 6.5 percent increase compared to overall tourism’s 3.2 percent increase. And, the forecast doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Wellness tourism is projected to increase by a rate of 7.5 percent annually, reaching $919 billion by 2022.

“Wellness tourism burst into the consumer consciousness just a very few years ago, and it’s hard to grasp the speed of its growth and evolution,” said Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung, senior researchers at GWI. “Wellness, hospitality, and travel are now converging in unprecedented ways, from the healthy hotel concept going utterly mainstream to airports, airlines, and cruises injecting so much wellness programming, to the profusion of ever-more-creative wellness destinations, retreats and tours. The wellness concept is transforming almost every aspect of the travel industry—and wellness tourism will only grow faster in years ahead, as it lies at the powerful intersection of two massive, booming industries: the $2.6 trillion tourism industry and the $4.2 trillion wellness market.”

By 2022, travelers are expected to have taken approximately 1.2 billion wellness trips annually. While wellness tourism is currently heavily concentrated in several countries across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific—the top five wellness tourism markets are in the U.S., Germany, China, France, and Japan—three-quarters of wellness trip growth is expected to take place across Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The number of countries actively marketing their wellness offerings at the national level has jumped from 65 in 2013 to over 100 in 2018. And in the U.S., while only eight of the fifty states marketed the sector in 2013, now over one-third promote some form of wellness tourism on their official state tourism website.

The full, 100-page report can be downloaded for free on the GWI website.


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