It’s no surprise that wellness is one of the biggest industries of the decade, and wellness travel is an ever-growing phenomenon. More people than ever are realizing how nice it is to go on vacation and not have to worry about your routine.
The wellness travel industry is constantly changing and evolving. New wellness travel trends have been emerging for years, and the industry is expected to be worth over $438 billion by 2026 according to PWC Report. The wellness travel market is growing at a steady rate due to the number of travelers increasing each year, which means that wellness travel agencies and wellness resorts will need to keep up with these trends in order to stay relevant.
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What is Wellness Travel and the current state of the industry?
Wellness travel, which emphasizes healthy living, is just one of many trends in wellness. While wellness is not directly measurable (unlike blood pressure) and there doesn’t seem to be an agreed-upon definition of wellness, we can identify wellness tourism.
This is the type of travel that arises from a desire to improve one’s own health or wellness through travel. It has wellness components in that can range from healthy food, exercise, or activities to spa treatments and relaxation. There are even opportunities to promote wellness in others through volunteerism!
According to a report by the wellness-tourism research firm Wellness & Destinations (W&D), wellness tourists comprise 20 percent of all travelers; 78 percent say their wellness holiday improved their mental and physical wellness, and 51 percent feel wellness holidays helped them recover from an illness.
The wellness travel industry has grown dramatically over the last few years due to travelers’ desires for personal wellness, social wellness (interacting with others), and community wellness (giving back to the local community).
Why is Wellness Tourism Becoming so Popular?
Part of wellness tourism’s popularity is that it appeals to people from all walks of life. Of the wellness travelers surveyed, 56 percent were female and 56 percent were married or in a partnership. Wellness travelers also come from all age groups, with 48 percent aged 36-50 and 25 percent aged 51-65.
Only 17 percent are under the age of 34. This indicates that wellness travel is not just for the young, but appeals to people of all ages. Furthermore, the range in low-cost to high-end wellness tourism is widening, with the potential to benefit a broader variety of health seekers – not simply those that appeal more to a wealthy clientele.
The Top 11 Wellness Travel Trends in 2023
What trends can we expect to see by 2023? Let’s dive into some examples below:
Trend #1: Wellness retreats and wellness tours in remote locations.
Retreats and wellness tours in remote locations are in high demand. Wellness travel in remote locations offers travelers an escape to nature and allows wellness seekers to recharge their batteries. These holidays currently attract wellness tourists who are looking for a different wellness experience than they can get at home or when traveling domestically. Some popular remote locations are in countries such as Bali or Morocco.
Remote wellness tours and wellness holidays are predicted to be the biggest wellness travel trend by 2022, with wellness tourists spending more than $60 billion on wellness tourism annually by 2026.
Trend #2: Digital wellness travel platforms
Digital wellness travel platforms are already here and will become more popular as wellness travel expands. These platforms can provide travelers with wellness information such as destination reviews, activities, and hotels.
Sixty-six percent of wellness travelers in the survey said they were willing to book wellness trips online, and 55 percent said they would be more likely to book wellness travel on a digital wellness platform than other types of travel.
Trend #3: Wellness travel hubs
As wellness tourism grows in popularity, wellness travel hubs will play a large role in wellness tourism. These hubs are different than wellness retreats or wellness spas; wellness travel hubs are wellness-based communities that offer all of the services and opportunities wellness travelers could want.
Some great examples of wellness travel hubs are Ubud in Bali, Rishikesh in India, and Lijiang in China.
Trend #4: Wellness tourism focused on sustainability
Sustainability is a buzzword that wellness tourism will focus on. Sustainable wellness travel has the components of wellness tourism (healthy food, exercise, and relaxation) but also benefits the environment by promoting an eco-friendly approach by reusing resources, recycling, and regeneration.
Travelers are more informed and aware of environmental impacts around the world. They are looking for experiences that can benefit them AND leave a positive impact on society.
Many wellness travel companies are focusing on wellness holidays in sustainable locations, such as wellness tours in Thailand with its environmental projects or wellness trips to Iceland where a traveler can experience a glacier up close.
Trend #5: Special event and occasion wellness travel
This trend focuses on wellness getaways during one’s birthday month, anniversary, or even holidays. It’s a great option for wellness seekers who want to spend special days or holidays with those most important to them.
One focus of this trend is more similar to a staycation. Companies are adding local holiday retreats and tours options.
Trend #6: Holistic wellness travel tours
Holistic wellness travel tours are on the rise. Holistic wellness focuses on the body, mind, and emotions. Some examples from holistic wellness travel packages are yoga training, retreats in nature, or meditation, and personal growth seminars.
Trend #7: Wellness tourism for women
Wellness tourism is expected to grow most among women due to the increased focus on wellness for women. Tours and spas are catering more towards women and offering more balanced wellness options such as meditation and mindfulness.
There’s something for everyone, from a fun girls’ getaway to a restorative mother’s holiday. Another growing option is women’s retreats – often led by inspirational women.
Trend #8: Wellness tourism for pets and furry friends (like pampering services)
Wellness tourism for pets will become more popular as travelers want to pamper their favorite roommates. Be on the lookout for pet spas and retreats. Bingo and Fluff can now get spa treatments, checkups, and more frequent walks at these pet retreats.
Some retreats even have the opportunity to participate in programs such as obedience training and dog training, nutrition classes, grooming services, veterinary visits, and more.
Trend #9: Wellness holidays for an entire family
Families are one of the fastest-growing segments of wellness travelers. Currently, wellness tours are not catered to families, but wellness travel providers have the opportunity to address this gap in the wellness travel market. Companies will start introducing more wellness-focused vacations for the whole family.
The vacations might incorporate wellness activities like group surf lessons, family golf, and toddler and parent yoga.
Trend #10: Wellness travel for children
There is an increase in wellness-themed activities for children. Wellness festivals and spas may offer games and sports to stay healthy while having fun. it’s a great way for children to learn about wellness and health at a young age.
Trend #11: Wellness travel for entrepreneurs
Wellness travel for entrepreneurs is growing. There are many retreats and spas that offer programs for wellness seekers who want to escape their busy workdays and hit refresh on the mind and body. Entrepreneurs who are wellness travelers will enjoy the benefits of hitting the spa before putting in a day of Zoom calls or mid-day meditation during their breaks. These programs will relax their body and stimulate creative thinking throughout the day.
Additionally, there will be an increase in global wellness festivals or seminars. You’ll be able to find entrepreneurs who are creating food, tech, and experiences focused on wellness.
As wellness continues to gain traction around the world, wellness travel will continue to grow. These trends will continue to evolve and new ones will arise. So, wellness seekers need not worry – There’s wellness tourism for everyone!