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Wellness tourism fast becoming major global market

A report released at the 2013 Global Wellness Tourism Congress by the Global Spa and Wellness Summit, says wellness-focused travel is currently a $439 billion market, projected to swell to $678.5 billion by 2017. The report by SRI International says wellness tourism represents 14 per cent of total global tourism revenues, and will grow by 9.9 per cent annually over the next five years.

Growth over the near five years is expected to come primarily from the Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern/North American markets, though Europe and North America will remain wellness tourism leaders overall. Some other interesting findings:

  • Wellness tourism is directly responsible for $11.7 million jobs worldwide, and 1.8 per cent of the world’s GDP in 2012
  • Domestic wellness tourism represents 84 per cent of all wellness tourism trips
  • Spa tourism represents 41 per cent of the total wellness market, with the remaining market share including “healthy hotels” and cruises, baths/springs, fitness, yoga or lifestyle retreats, travel to nature parks/preserves, organic/natural restaurant expenditures, and other healthy lodging and retail

“Wellness tourism is poised to reshape tourism as we know it. So many 21st century forces are fueling it, including the rise of chronic diseases and the unprecedented stress of modern life,” noted Jean-Claude Baumgarten, GSWS keynote speaker and former president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. “What people want to achieve during their ever diminished time off is undergoing a sea change, with millions more every year demanding destinations that deliver physical, emotional, spiritual and environmental health – along with enjoyment.”

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