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Travelers are prioritizing wellness experiences in 2024 and by the looks of it, for years to come.The Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) latest Global Wellness Economy Monitor projects that the wellness tourism market will more than double from 2022 to 2027, making an especially dramatic jump between 2023 ($868 billion) and 2024 when spending will reach a record $1 trillion. Come 2027, spending is expected to hit $1.4 trillion.The skyrocketing resurgence in demand for global wellness tourism is expected to trigger a 16.6 percent annual growth rate over the next five years, making the industry the second biggest future growth leader among all wellness sectors, says the GWI report.This is an important turnaround for the industry, which experienced a major slump between 2019 and 2020 when spending plummeted from $720 billion to just $351 billion.
Wellness travelers. (photo via Wellness Travel University)
Wellness travelers made 819.4 million international and domestic trips in 2022, which represents a major increase from 2020 and 2021 levels.Among those millions of wellness travelers in 2022, international or inbound trips accounted for only 12 percent (95 million trips), while domestic wellness trips accounted for 88 percent (725 million trips). But the global differences can be huge. For instance, in North America, only 4 percent of wellness trips are inbound/international, while in the Middle East-North Africa that number is 50 percent.
Wellness travelers spend far more than “regular” tourists.
International wellness tourists on average spent $1,764 per trip—41 percent more than the typical international tourist.
The spending premium for domestic wellness tourists is even higher, at 175 percent more than the average domestic tourist (or $668 per trip).
When looked at by size, the US is the leading wellness destination at the moment with an annual growth rate between 2020 and 2022 of 32 percent.
Rounding out the top five leaders globally, in terms of growth rate over the same two year time frame are:
Wellness tourism is also skyrocketing in the Middle East-North Africa. The region has been the number one recent growth leader in wellness tourism spending, recording 61.5 percent annual growth between 2020 and 2022. Average spend per trip in the region has also grown faster than anywhere else, reaching $1,354 per wellness trip.
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Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience. Most recently she worked as a staff writer for...
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