The wellness travel industry is on track to be one of the fastest growing wellness markets of 2025, despite pandemic setbacks. A recent report by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) projects that the market, after having fallen to $435.7 billion in 2020, is on track to hit $817 billion total expenditures by the end of 2022. It is then expected to soar to $1.3 trillion by 2025.
The GWI defines wellness tourism as any travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing being. This definition is then broken up into two separate types of wellness travel: primary and secondary.
Primary wellness travel can be defined as any type of travel where health and wellness are the motivating factors for the destination and activities upon arrival. Secondary wellness travel, meanwhile, encompasses trips where wellness is not the main motivating factor but instead informs choices and activities while traveling because the traveler wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
According to the report, this secondary type of travel is the one having the greatest influence on the wellness tourism market currently. Of the 601 million trips made for wellness in 2020, 92% of all those trips were considered secondary in nature. Additionally, 90% of all wellness tourism expenditures in 2020 came from secondary wellness trips.
Even before the pandemic struck, secondary wellness tourism was the fastest growing portion of wellness tourism overall, climbing 9.2% annually compared to 5.6% for primary tourism. It also declined significantly less in comparison, with this market dropping -33.2% as opposed to primary’s -56.8% drop. This, the report speculates, is most likely due to the closures of many primary wellness facilities due to pandemic-related concerns.
More People Seeking Health, Wellbeing Options During Travel
From the airport to the destination, the numbers expressed in the report relate to a growing trend of travelers seeking out evergreen health and wellness options. Rather than experience wellness for a weekend, they wish to incorporate wellness more into their day-to-day activities, especially while travelling.
The report also shows that these types of travelers are more than willing to pay a premium for options they feel as though will benefit them in both mind and body. Despite wellness tourism having occupied 6.5% of all trips made in 2020, the wellness tourism industry still accounted for 16.2% of all expenditures, with the United States having the largest share of expenditures at 37% across all regions.
It is also worth noting that domestic travelers are willing to spend substantially more per trip compared to both international wellness travelers and the average tourist. In 2020, international tourists spent an average of $1,601 per trip, or 35% higher than average. Domestic wellness tourists, meanwhile, spent $619 more per trip, which, while smaller than the previous number, is 177% more than what the average domestic traveler spends on a trip.
Domestic travel also accounts for the largest portion of all wellness travel currently, with the pandemic having greatly impacted international travel. Taken from 2020, the split between the two types of travel came in at 11% to 89% with domestic travel being the most common by a landslide. Europe was also found to be the region with the largest number of wellness trips being taken by far, with Asia-Pacific coming in second, followed by the United States.
More Information and Projections for the Wellness Tourism Market
For more information on the projected performance of the Wellness Tourism Market, as well as current performance trends, check out the GWI website for the full report along with associated data visualizations.