The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) recently reported that global wellness tourism revenues grew 14% during 2013-2015 (to $563 billion), which is more than twice as fast as overall tourism (6.9%). It is anticipated that global wellness tourism will grow another 37.5% ($808 billion), by 2020. Additionally, international wellness tourism revenues are growing 20% than domestic wellness travel. The U.S. remains the global powerhouse in wellness travel, with $202 billion in revenues, more than three times the #2 market, Germany. China showed the biggest growth, jumping from the 9th largest market in 2013, to 4th in 2015, with revenues growing more than 300%, from $12.3 billion to $29.5 billion.
The majority of wellness travel is done by 'secondary' wellness tourists, who seek wellness experiences during travel. While the travel and hospitality industry tends to focus on the primary wellness traveler (where wellness is the main motivation for the trip) they will need to pay keen attention to mainstream travelers who are increasingly incorporating spa treatments, fitness, clean eating, yoga etc.) into their leisure and business travel.
The United States remains the overwhelming world leader in wellness travel, representing over one-third of global wellness tourism revenues, while the top five countries (U.S., Germany, France, China, Japan) represent 61% of the world market.
“There is enormous potential
for China to become both an
international and domestic
wellness tourism destination.”
“The Chinese consumer’s appetite for wellness-focused travel is huge and growing, but the current infrastructure for delivering these services and experiences in China at an international standard is still limited,” said Katherine Johnston, Senior Research Fellow, Global Wellness Institute. “But given the country’s unique wellness ‘assets’ – from TCM and herbal medicine, to energy work and martial arts – there is enormous potential for China to become both an international and domestic wellness tourism destination.”
The top five growth leaders for percentage increase in wellness trips are: 1) Australia (+85%), 2) China (+60%), 3) Brazil (+46%), 4) Indonesia (+40%) and 5) Russia (+31%), which is evidence that developing nations are a developing story in wellness travel.