Is wellness tourism here to stay?

Wellness is in. Although it has always been important to take care of your mind, body, and soul, there is a new hyper-focus on wellness. So much so that the industry is projected to be worth $7 trillion by 2025, up from $4.9 trillion before the pandemic.

After years of travel restrictions, people are also eager to vacation and experience new places and cultures again. This, coupled with a renewed focus on self-care, makes wellness tourism ripe for the blossoming. Fueled by activities such as yoga and spa treatments, wellness vacations appeal to the tourist who wants to return home feeling physically and mentally rejuvenated.

While wellness tourism isn’t new (it accounted for about 17% of all travel in 2017), it’s quickly growing. The market, which was valued at $850.55 billion in 2021, is on track to grow at a 7.7% compound annual growth rate between 2022 and 2030.

Major players in the tourism industry are certainly taking note. Brands such as IHG and Kimpton offer wellness-focused amenities in their hotels across the world, while Hilton and Miraval Resorts & Spas have recently created wellness programs for their guests. These activities and perks range from the typical spa treatment to meditation, mental wellness programs, and Peloton-packed exercise rooms.

Wellness tourism doesn’t just stop at experiences and packages, either. Hotels and resorts are also keeping serenity top of mind in their design, which can include green spaces and natural light.

This demand in wellness travel creates many opportunities for those working in the tourism industry, especially after a trying two years. Tourists around the globe are eager to see the world and take the practices, self-care rituals, and physical routines they discovered during the pandemic with them. Not only can hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts experiment with wellness offerings for their customers, businesses solely focused on wellbeing can also take advantage of this growing sector by marketing directly to these tourists. This trend can be a game-changer for larger companies like resorts and retreats, as well as entrepreneurs offering services or Airbnb experiences.

Although wellness tourism is on pace to grow tremendously and become a large portion of the industry, no one knows if customers will maintain their desires for holistic travel. The need for destinations and programs to feed their minds, bodies, and souls could very well be an offshoot of the stress and unpredictability of the global pandemic. Additionally, factors like financial uncertainties and global political unrest could certainly hinder growth.

But, in my opinion, I think hotels should take advantage of this trend. It is another way to get guests back through the doors after too long a hiatus.

Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.

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