Wellness tourism is projected to grow from a US$639 billion industry in 2017 to US$919 in 2022, with Asia expected to be the biggest growth market valued at US$252 billion in two years’ time.
Changing wellness expectations have also gave birth to new business opportunities for wellness tourism specialists, noted Susie Ellis, chairman & CEO of Global Wellness Summit.
Speaking at the opening of the event in Singapore last week, Ellis said that one prominent trend is the rise in health consciousness among stressed-out city-dwellers, which drives demand for accessible urban wellness resorts.
“Most people, when they travel, are looking for remote areas with beautiful settings and resorts. Not so much anymore, because people are living in the city and they are feeling the stress in the city so they also want to find a place in the city get their wellness experience,” she noted, citing Six Senses New York, the first urban resort for the hospitality brand, as an example.
The wellness sabbatical concept is heating up too, observed Ellis. “Wellness sabbatical is just starting out, and we are seeing people going away for a longer period, like three weeks, while still being plugged in and doing work at some level,” she said.
An example of a company that answers the needs of the wellness sabbatical concept is US-based Amble, which works with nonprofits, nature conservancies and small towns to provide unique experiences and affordable lodging to burned-out creative professionals who want to recharge and explore at the same time.
Slow walking, hiking, cycling and pilgrimages are also gaining greater traction, while spiritual seekers, consciousness explorers, and women wellness travellers will be segments to watch.