At the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Global Summit in Madrid, Spain, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) released new data suggesting wellness tourism could rebound faster than the tourism sector as a whole following major disasters, such as wars, acts of terrorism, drug violence or natural disasters.
The ten nations analyzed that have experienced either historic or shorter-term disruptions, will see, on average, an annual 7.2 percent growth rate in inbound trips overall, but a greater 19.5 percent annual rise in inbound wellness tourism trips (each year from 2012-2017). This represents roughly 170 percent more inbound wellness-focused trips across those five years.
The GWI defines wellness tourism as all travel associated with maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing, and this travel category’s global growth is estimated at 9.1 percent annually from 2012-2017, or 58 percent faster than the 5.8 percent annual growth rate for global tourism overall.
“Wellness tourism can play a major role in the image-building that is critical for nations that have experienced crisis-driven tourism disruptions. It’s an opportunity for countries to tell an ongoing story about their unique in-nature experiences, indigenous healing traditions or wellness/spa destinations, which casts a ‘healthy halo’ over their country,” said GWI Senior Research Fellow and Senior Economist at SRI International Katherine Johnston.
“It will be interesting to track how the growing wellness tourism market in countries like Tunisia or Kenya (with recent, devastating terrorist attacks) will impact their overall tourism recovery,” said Jackson. “Tunisia saw 70 percent growth in inbound wellness tourism from 2012-2013 (vs. 3 percent inbound growth overall), while Kenya saw 450 percent growth in international wellness travel that year (vs. 4 percent overall). How will these booming wellness tourism markets mitigate tourism losses in the years ahead?”