Defining the New Era of Wellness Tourism: Trends and Best Practices for Stakeholders

by Meghan Carty + Skift Team - Oct 2019

Skift Research Take

Wellness has long been an important part of the travel experience, but it has just recently exploded as a full-fledged trend. Travel industry stakeholders looking to attract wellness-minded consumers need to understand what wellness tourism means today in order to successfully find a place within it.

Report Overview

There is perhaps no bigger trend in the travel industry today than wellness. Given the wellness boom outside of the travel industry, it only makes sense that it would eventually become a hot topic within it as well. Even though it’s gained new found attention, wellness has long been a key motivator for travel and an important part of the travel experience. Today, however, wellness travel is manifesting in new and different ways than in the past, driven by the demands of increasingly well-being minded travelers. In this report, we focus on addressing four questions about wellness tourism: How big and important is the wellness tourism market? What are the trends that define the new era of wellness travel? What sectors are impacted by wellness tourism? What are the best practices for various stakeholders looking to attract consumers with wellness in mind? We attempt to answer these questions drawing from Skift Research’s proprietary survey data, third-party data, and a number of in-depth interviews with industry stakeholders and experts. Using these perspectives, we synthesize five components that make up the new definition of wellness tourism, and end the report by laying out nine best practices for wellness tourism stakeholders.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • What wellness tourism means today and how it has evolved over time
  • Who wellness tourists are, how they behave, and what they prefer
  • How to categorize wellness tourists based on their wellness-oriented travel motivations
  • Who the stakeholders are in wellness tourism and how potential stakeholders can play a role
  • The size of the wellness tourism market
  • The kinds of wellness travel experiences tourists are interested in
  • A five-part breakdown of the new definition of wellness tourism
  • Nine best practices for wellness tourism stakeholders

Executives Interviewed

  • Aleena Abrahamian - Head of Strategic Partnerships, Calm
  • Anna Bjurstam - Wellness Pioneer, Six Senses
  • Anne Dimon - President, Wellness Tourism Association and Founder/Editor, TravelToWellness.com
  • Beth McGroarty - Director of Research and PR, Global Wellness Institute
  • Betty Wong - Divisional Vice President, Inflight Services and Design, Singapore Airlines
  • Brian Badura - Director of Global Public Relations & Strategic Initiatives, Seabourn
  • Brian Povinelli - SVP, Global Brand Leader for Westin, Le Méridien, Renaissance, Autograph, Tribute, & Design Hotels
  • Cassandra Bianco - Founder of WELLBEINGS and Global Wellness Consultant for Selina
  • Emlyn Brown - VP of Well-Being, Accor, Luxury & Premium Brands
  • Mia Kyricos - SVP, Global Head of Wellbeing, Hyatt
  • Phil Auerbach - Chief Commercial Officer, Lindblad Expeditions
  • Vivienne Tang - Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Destination Deluxe