yoga wellness

Wellness tourism is the fastest-growing segment of the wellness industry, and a new report builds a case for why retailers and brands interested in tapping this market should eye the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Asian tourists.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is the third-largest portion of the industry with $639 billion in annual revenue. The personal care, beauty and anti-aging segment totals $1.1 trillion while healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss generate $702 billion. The GWI projects wellness tourism to reach $919 billion over the next three years, and since 2015 it has grown at a 6.5 percent rate — twice as fast as the tourism industry itself.

And in a report from ILTM and brand development firm CatchOn — a Finn Partners company, the Asia-Pacific region is ranked second to Europe for the number of wellness tourism trips. “Wellness has become a dominant consumer value and lifestyle driver, and this is profoundly changing behavior, choices and spending decisions,” said authors of the report, “Asia: The Future of Global Wellness Tourism.”

The report noted that outbound Asia-Pacific consumers represent 37 percent of the total number of global travelers “with international travel spending doubling in the last decade.” And with China, outbound trips have grown twentyfold with Chinese tourists spending $258 billion annually.

And despite the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, “Chinese travelers will represent 30 percent of the entire international travel market by 2030; and China has been pegged to become the world’s number-one travel destination by 2030, dethroning France,” authors of the report stated.

Top wellness destinations include Bali, the Maldives, Thailand, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka while top activities include detox programs, private nutrition consultation, sleep therapy, personal trainer session, cooking classes, adventure sports and cultural excursions as well as wellness retreats with yoga classes and seminars.

The bottom line is that wellness tourism is about offering compelling destinations and memorable experiences. It’s a new type of luxury experience, the report noted.

“When it comes to wellness, luxury has less to do with the conventional trappings of indulgence and more to do with the ephemeral quality of an experience,” the report stated. “Women who’ll turn their nose up at anything less than 500 thread-count sheets, suddenly won’t mind sleeping in yurts under the stars if it means a completely life-transforming experience. Austerity is equated with authenticity.”