Wellness trend: wellness tourism

wellness tourism

Wellness travel is “a major trend that hoteliers need to address.” Hospitality should be paying attention to the wellness tourism trend of 2023. 

Defined by the Global Wellness institute as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing,” wellness tourism continues to gain in popularity. In a Hospitality.net article, consultant Mariana Palmeiro writes that she gets “more calls from hotels looking to reposition into health and wellness tourism than any other trend,” adding, “no wonder – this market is booming.” This has been true for some time – according to a GWI report, the wellness tourism sector accounted for $436 billion of the $4.4 trillion in revenue generated by the wellness economy in 2020 – and seems even more so now that people are free to travel the world again.

An Accenture survey found that 39% of high-income consumers have already booked a luxury trip or wellness retreat in early 2023, and 21% of millennials have booked a wellness retreat. The survey of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries found that health and wellbeing are considered “essential,” and 33% of respondents said they’re more focused on self care than they were a year ago.

Examples of self care focused destinations include CIVANA, which sits in the Sonoran Desert and offers curated personal growth and discovery content, outdoor adventures, yoga and meditation and access to world renowned wellness guides and healers. Civana also features comfortable accommodations and a world-class spa and was named USA Today’s #5 best health & wellness resort in 2022.

And a recent article in Hotel Business calls wellness travel “a major trend that hoteliers need to address,” and quotes Kenneth Ryan, VP, global wellness, spa & fitness operations, Marriott International, saying: “We’ve heard that wellness is now at the forefront of everybody’s mind and self care rituals are really important to everybody – and they’re taking that with them when they travel. This has had a profound shift in what’s going on and driving powerful growth. We’re seeing high demand in our spas and the best revenues ever – well over 2019 – and really strong rates.”

Forbes also recently reported that wellness tourism is growing at a 50% faster rate than conventional tourism, with no signs of slowing down. Savvy hospitality leaders are making wellness programs a priority, which looks different from destination to destination but includes spa, wellness activities, mental wellness focused design, and sleep wellness, which is growing a reputation all its own – CNN recently reported that an increasing amount of sleep-focused stays are popping up at hotels and resorts around the world and that “interest has skyrocketed since the pandemic,” with a number of high profile establishments focusing their attention on those suffering from sleep-deprivation, including Park Hyatt and Rosewood.

According to a Conde Nast Traveler article on the biggest wellness travel trends of 2023, “People are craving physical activity, and increasingly seeking wellness in the wild: Mindful movement is a new buzzword, and travelers are getting their fix on newly opened hiking trails, pickleball courts, and even on skis and paddleboards. Plus, after all that physical exertion, there are recovery rooms to ensure you’ll never have achy muscles. Not the outdoorsy kind? Resorts are offering everything from pottery to weaving and painting to center the mind—and keep us away from our screens.” 

The trends listed in the article include technologies and diagnostic tools that allow spas to customize stays with therapies that address issues like emotional health to bone strength; recovery lounges; mindful activities like arts & crafts in lieu of meditation; and soaking and steaming as forms of socializing. 



See more 2023 wellness trends: 8 WELLNESS TRENDS FOR 2023: A HOSPITALITY HANDBOOK

Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leading cloud-based spa management software for the world’s top hotels and resorts, used by more Forbes 5-Star rated spas than any other vendor. Learn more at book4time.com.

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