The rise of wellness tourism

The global wellness tourism market was valued at $641.298 billion in 2019. Unlike medical tourism, which involves the treatment of already diagnosed conditions, wellness tourism services focus on the prevention of diseases by emphasizing a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life. The growth of this market has been driven by the rising middle-class population and the consumer's desire to adopt a wellness lifestyle. The increasing affordability of flights and travel options is also boosting the number of travellers across the globe which, in turn, is also fuelling the demand for wellness tourism services worldwide, said a Wellness Tourism Market – Forecasts from 2020 to 2025 report.

Tourists are increasingly opting for spa therapies and other wellness activities while on a trip. Hectic work schedules and sedentary lifestyles have resulted in a decline in physical activities among people, leading to a rise in lifestyle-related problems. Governments in various countries are also taking necessary steps and measures to ramp up the overall growth of the travel and tourism industry which will also fuel the global wellness tourism market growth during the next five years.

For instance, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is developing wellness-focused tourism in lesser-known destinations such as Beppu and Misgui. Global wellness tourism market players are adopting various growth strategies in order to expand their market share worldwide which will also propel the global wellness tourism market till the end of the forecast period.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic outbreak has severely impacted the overall travel and tourism industry which, in turn, has negatively affected the market growth of wellness tourism. The ban on international as well as domestic flights coupled with the temporary shutdown of services such as spas and restaurants in order to reduce the spread of this novel virus has restricted the growth of the wellness tourism market.

By type of traveller, the secondary traveller segment accounted for a significant market share in 2019. A secondary traveller is the one who seeks to maintain wellness while taking trips for leisure or business. The primary wellness traveller, on the other hand, is the one whose trip is primarily motivated by wellness purposes. An increasing number of people suffering from anxiety and depression are taking trips specifically for wellness services including spa treatments and wellness activities.

Geographically, the global wellness tourism market has been segmented as North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific regional market for wellness tourism is poised to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The booming travel and tourism industry in countries like India, Thailand, and Malaysia is the major driver of the wellness tourism market in this region. The presence of global hotel and resort companies in this region along with the continued expansion of the hospitality industry is also contributing to the market growth of wellness tourism in this region.

Rising disposable incomes and shifting preference towards wellness activities in order to relax, especially among millennials, is also fuelling the growth of this regional market. Supportive government policies and measures to attract more and more international tourists will continue to spur the market growth of wellness tourism in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.