Wellness tourism, which is defined as a form of travel with the aim of enhancing one's wellbeing is a relatively new tourism market, but one that has had a very outstanding growth track. Within a very short time, wellness tourism has risen to become one of the fastest segments of global tourism. According to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report currently, wellness tourism is a $438.6 billion global market, accounting for more than one out of seven of all tourist dollars, and it is projected to grow to $678.5 billion by 2017.
According to the current growth forecasts in the Report, wellness tourism is expected to grow by an annual rate of 9.1% through the year 2017. This growth rate is almost 50% higher than the expected rate of the overall tourism economy. The rapid progress in wellness tourism in the coming years will be influenced by the response of the market to the increasing consumer interest in lifestyle and wellbeing all over the world.
The expenditures of the wellness tourism market are expected to rise to $678.5 billion, increasing from the current 14% to 16% of the overall global tourism economy. The trips are also expected to grow by a rate of 8.5% annually, reaching 790.3 million trips by 2017.
Currently, wellness tourism is flourishing in the Europe and North America economies, but its future growth will be driven by Asia, Latin America, Middle East and other developing regions. This will be as a result of increased prosperity, literacy levels and urbanization in these economies, which will in turn lead to the adoption of a modern wellness lifestyle and a higher tendency to travel.
More than 50% of the expected growth in trips through 2017 is expected in Asia, Middle East, Latin America and North Africa. This growth will be driven by a rapid increase in the domestic wellness tourism and the intra-regional wellness tourism of these countries. These economies are also expected to increase their marketing of wellness tourism in the international market, while offering improved tourism options for foreign visitors, resulting in a significant increase in the international wellness tourism trips.
Wellness tourism is expected to have a large impact in the global economy; directly through the effects of an increase in the wellness tourism expenditure and trips and indirectly through other induced effects.
In 2012, wellness tourism market created 11.7 million direct jobs all over the world, and an overall economic impact of $1.3 trillion in the global economy. As the wellness tourism economy continues to experience a dynamic growth, these effects are expected to increase dramatically.