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  • Writer's pictureLesley Anderson

The Wellness Imperative

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” [1] Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wellness industry was growing rapidly, contributing $4.4 trillion to the world economy. And while wellness tourism, defined by the GWI as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being”, shrank by 39.5% during the pandemic from its former value of $436 billion annually, spending time outdoors in nature and focusing on wellness overall accelerated during the pandemic with a strong future trajectory

As the world emerges from the pandemic and people begin to travel again, the GWI predicts that wellness tourism will grow rapidly at an annual rate of 20.9% through 2025. According to the Amex Trendex report, 76% of consumers are interested in spending more on travel to improve their well-being.

Why Target Wellness Travellers?

Wellness travellers tend to be higher yield and are willing to spend more on activities and services in the pursuit of their personal well-being. Whether designing visitor experiences intentionally to attract the primary wellness traveller or incorporating wellness as a secondary element and underpinning within the overall experience design, there is an opportunity for tourism businesses to positively enhance their visitor experiences by embedding wellness within their design considerations.

Wellness Experience Design Considerations

For many people, their first point of reference for wellness travel is often meditation, yoga or forest bathing. However, wellness extends beyond these activities to incorporate physical, mental, social and environmental dimensions.

The dimensions of wellness in visitor experience design
The dimensions of wellness in visitor experience design

In designing visitor experiences, tourism operators can consider different options to tap into this growing market by making intentional design choices around the dimensions of wellness as part of their experience development and design process.

The benefits and appreciation for the importance of wellness travel are growing and visitor demand for wellness is changing constantly. Staying apprised of evolutions and trends will continuously reveal new revenue generation and value creation opportunities for tourism businesses who want to optimize the burgeoning interest in wellness.

[1] Global Wellness Institute. (2021, December). The global wellness economy: Looking beyond COVID.

[2] American Express. (2021, September 29). Amex Trendex: consumers prioritizing wellness and mental health with their time, money and travel plans.


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