Forget the booze cruise or a week of hedonism in Bali. These days, travelers are choosing to build their holiday itineraries around health and wellbeing.
According to Lonely Planet, wellness tourism generates a whopping US$563 billion ($760billion) each year and grew by 10 per cent in 2017.
Lonely Plant writer Ken Foxe said that one in every six “travel dollars” is now spent on wholesome choices like spa breaks, yoga retreats and digital detoxes.
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) predicts wellness tourism will become a US$800 billion industry by 2020. With such a staggering and stellar growth since 2013, the battle-cry for more wellness to be incorporated into all vacations has steadily been growing louder from general tourists.
Earlier this year at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, the GWI presented its second annual symposium, The Wellness Showcase: Wellness Experiences & Travel Trends 2018.
The focus was on the macro shift from experiential to more “transformative” wellness travel, and how travellers now seek (and destinations are innovating) more emotional, life-changing wellness journeys, rather than the old programming, treatments and classes.
GWI chair and CEO Susie Ellis shared emerging trends that fall under the transformative umbrella: from brands creating multiproperty wellness circuits or story-based wellness sagas to the rise of more extreme wellness at destinations (whether intense mind-over-matter challenges or empowering wellness travel for women).
“The buzzword in travel today is ‘transformative’, and while it can never be precisely defined and often gets misused, for the wellness travel sector, it’s the very brand and promise,” Ms Ellis said. “Wellness travellers increasingly demand true brain, body and soul shake-ups – intense personal growth rather than just pampering – and destinations are creatively heeding the call.”