The Study: Wellness Tourism 2030 Post-COVID19 – Refocusing the growth of wellness & travel
A pioneering study by Health Tourism Worldwide in cooperation with the Wellness Tourism Association shows the way to ensure a healthy future for wellness tourism, and point to areas with the highest growth potential. This report compares perspectives of industry and academia resulting in the refocus of global and regional trends in wellness motivated travel in 2025-2030.
Travellers want to incorporate more “wellness” into their trips and wellness is a main motivation for travel. At the same time it appears that any service and programme could have an angle that can be further “wellnessified!”
Industry leaders are focused on the physical nature of wellness treatments and programmes, while academia point to the intended outcome and benefits of those treatments and programmes.
During the global travel crisis brought about by the pandemic, the industry has looked for resources and approaches that can influence the future of wellness travel. From the study industry representatives estimate that:
- Spiritual practices and treatments based on local, natural resources represent the highest growth potential.
- Resort spas, lifestyle-oriented resorts, eco spas and wellness centres can represent great growth potential.
- Wellness has several facets and the industry should be open to new products and ideas, such as spirituality/wellness oriented festivals.
- Academic researchers find that sport & fitness as well as medical wellness propositions show potential through to 2030.
- However, alternative therapies and new age approaches may not represent significant opportunities.
The study confirmed that popularity of services and facility types vary by market segments as well as by geographical areas. Although wellness, as a concept, enjoys global interest, the ways in which it is used in hospitality, healthcare and destination development very much depend on the local circumstances. For example industry representatives believe that in the USA it is solo female travellers who remain the dominant market segment for the wellness travel product. Academia representatives predict that guests looking for healthy options as well as same-sex couples will also represent important segments. In Europe, there is a more balanced segment mix with couples, groups of friends, families and guests who look for healthy options. Both respondent groups believe that single men will be the leading segment for wellness travel in the Middle East.
De-stress, Recharge, Relaxation, Self-healing, Fitness
The greatest differences in how the two respondent groups consider the future of wellness tourism lies in the assessment of motivation triggers for wellness travel. Industry representatives believe that de-stress, recharge and relaxation will lead the demand for wellness trips, whereas academia respondents stress the importance of self-healing, fitness and also as a personal reward.
The Wellness Travel 2030 Post COVID19 study results highlight that travellers want to know and understand more about wellness travel. They will actively seek out relevant services, hotels, resorts, retreats and destinations. Post-pandemic wellness-minded travellers will make decisions about their travels much closer to the actual date of travel, and likely they will prefer destinations that are closer to home. Due to the pandemic, people value good health and will fuel a demand from the wellness industry.
The online study was conducted during the spring of 2020 and collected responses from 131 industry representatives (from 25 countries) and from 59 academia representatives (from 24 countries). Wellness tourism within the study represents forms of tourism which aim to improve and balance all main domains of human life including physical, mental, emotional, occupational, intellectual and spiritual. Wellness tourism is a specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and activities primarily focused on serving the wellness-minded consumer and those who want to be.
About the Health Tourism Worldwide
Health Tourism Worldwide is a pioneering initiative which looks at leisure, lifestyle and travel from a wellbeing perspective. HTWW founders have been working with public sector representatives in supporting their planning and strategic work as well as facilitating private sector development in four continents. HTWW proudly incorporates academic rigour in every advisory, strategy making, research or feasibility assessing work. HTWW industry intelligence, disruptive and inspiring work has been used widely.
About the Wellness Tourism Association
Launched in 2018 as a U.S. based not-for-profit, privately-held, global organization, the WTA was established and designed to support and serve the growing wellness tourism industry.