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The Rebound Of Wellness Tourism

The Rebound Of Wellness Tourism


The wellness tourism sector—which was decimated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, like virtually every facet of the travel business—is enjoying a massive rebound, according to a recent report from the leading research and educational resource for the global wellness industry.

Despite the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global travel industry, wellness … [+] tourism is expected to make a huge comeback through 2025, according to a new report.

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The December 2021 report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) offers a comprehensive look at the global wellness economy—which it estimates at $4.4 trillion in 2020—following the onset of the pandemic, and analyzes the future of wellness spending by sector.

While the global wellness tourism market fell from $720.4 billion to $435.7 billion—a whopping 39.5%—between 2019 and 2020 (versus 43% for all tourism), it’s bouncing back with astonishing gusto.

GWI forecasts the average annual growth rate of wellness tourism at 20.9% from 2020-2025—outpacing the trajectory of every other sector of the wellness economy (including personal care & beauty, spas, and wellness real estate, to name just a few). Notably, the expansion of the entire wellness economy is tracking to surpass that of global GDP to the tune of 9.9% vs. 7.3% respectively over the same period, according to the report.

According to a recent American Express survey, 55% of those polled said they’re willing to pay extra … [+] for wellness activities on future vacations.

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This outlook is especially rosy for a hospitality industry that’s increasingly wellness-minded. GWI notes that both domestic and international wellness travelers have especially deep pockets, even during the pandemic. In 2020, international wellness tourists spent $1,601 per trip on average, 35% more than the typical international tourist. The premium for domestic wellness tourists is even higher: $619 per trip, or 177% more than the usual domestic tourist.

“Wellness travelers are typically more affluent, educated, and well-traveled, and they’re willing to spend more on travel experiences, services, and amenities that support their health and well-being,” the report says.

GWI’s findings are widely supported. According to a recent survey from American Express, 78% of respondents said they’re working on more goals tied to health and wellness than in previous years, while 76% agree they want to spend more on travel to improve their well-being—and 55% said they’d be willing to pay extra for wellness activities on future vacations.


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