Wellness, a wealthy tourism segment

In spite of un unsteady global scenario, there are some particularly resilient economic sectors. In particular, according to the report “2016 Global Wellness Economy Monitor” released by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the wellness industry grew by 10,6% from 2013 to 2015, and is now worth about 3.490 billion euros, compared to 3.150 in 2013. Today it represents 5,1% of the world economic output. It is interesting to notice that, during the same years, the global economy shrank by -3,6%.

Wellness tourism is one of the ten segments analysed in the GWI’s report. At a global level, in 2015 almost 700 million wellness travels were registered, which represented 7% of total travels, 105 million more than 2013. It has been evaluated that the revenue grew by 14%, representing 15,6% of the total tourism revenue today. According to GWI, the reasons of this success have to be found in the growth of a medium class, the aging world population, chronic diseases and stress and to a growing number of tourist-consumers who are looking for authentic and natural experiences. The high revenue is partially due to the higher spending capacity of wellness tourists compared to traditional leisure ones. For example, an international wellness tourist spends an average of 1.520 euros per travel, as people in this segment are usually seniors with an upper middle income and that can afford longer holidays. According to the GWI’s report, in 2015, wellness tourism generated a direct impact of about 530 billion euros which, along with the indirect one, generated a total impact of more than 1.000 billion euros.

The report underlines that Europe is the favourite wellness travels destination, recording about 250 million travels and with a domestic and inbound tourism expense of 182 billion euros. Europe is followed by the United States (around 187 million travel), which are considered to be more expensive. In fact, they registered an higher revenue, about 202 billion euros. To follow, in tourism flows numbers, Asian regions on the Pacific Ocean (194 million travels) and Latin America (almost 47 million). Europe’s preferred destinations are Germany, France, Austria and Italy.

China is on the top of the world’s fastest growing markets, which registered more than 18 million wellness travels in 2015, growing by 26,6% from 2013. As reported by eTN – Global Travel Industry News, Jamaica is also planning a development plan for wellness tourism. In fact, the ministry of Tourism put this segment in the strategic ones to be enhanced, aiming to reach 5 million tourists per year. The same is for South Korea: the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism organised last September the “International Forum on Wellness Tourism 2016” in Seoul, in order to plan a coherent development strategy with hotels, health operators and players of the industry.

At Twissen we observed that wellness tourism is a segment which offers several opportunities, in terms of quantity and value. The luxury component characterises the market supply, increasing the average tourism spending.