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Rise of wellness holidays an antidote to overtourism

Rise of wellness holidays an antidote to overtourism
March 17, 2019

Destinations around the world are creating ‘wellness tourist zones’ to try to fight the effects of overtourism - a trend that is likely to grow, according to a recent report on the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry.

The Global Wellness Summit report says roughly half of all tourisys visit just 100 global destinations - among them the Louvre in Paris, Machu Picchu in Peru and the historic Italian city of Venice.

As a result, some cities are creating new itineraries to satisfy visitors’ desire for health, relaxation and wellness retreats.

Locally, the Global Wellness Institute ranks Australia in the Asia-Pacific’s top five wellness tourism markets.

Tourism Australia says the country had 900,000 travellers involved in wellness tourism in 2018 – up 7.6% annual growth in five years.

While about a third of this market involved day trips, overnight stays in domestic destinations such as Byron Bay in NSW or Daylesford in Victoria are also becoming much more popular.

Health spas, particularly natural hot springs, yoga retreats and surf trips are among the most sought-after wellness experiences in Australia.

In Japan, tourism bodies are establishing new wellness trails to coax travellers away from the congested Kyota-Osaka-Tokyo routes.

The Dragon Route - aptly named because it is shaped like a rising dragon with the Noto Peninsula as its head - runs north through Central Japan.

There are several themed routes backed by the city’s Shoryudo Project. These range from historical and cultural trails, scenic mountain walks, an ‘amusement course’ to experience the region’s traditional craft and food scene, and relaxing hot spring retreats.

Not only is wellness tourism taking over our travel itineraries, the average wellness tourist spends 53% more than the typical international tourist, according to the Global Wellness Institute.

According to its 2018 report, international wellness tourists spent US$1528 per trip on average; domestic wellness tourists spent US$609 per trip - that’s 178% more than the average domestic tourist.

These figures did not include medical tourism (defined as travel to receive treatment for a diagnosed condition or for enhancement procedures).

Wellness tourists were motivated by a desire for healthier living, to create a sense of meaning or joy, and stress reduction, according to the institute. The activities were usually voluntary, non-invasive and not medical-related.

According to a 2019 CB Insights report, airports are also becoming wellness destinations in their own right.

The report authors advised “fitness services, for example, are targeting business travelers by providing services at airports, with brands like ROAM Fitness, which offers workout facilities behind airport security.”

Click here to view the CBInsights Wellness Trends in 2019 report.

Images: Peninsula Hot Springs (top) and the Hepburn Bathouse (below).

Related Articles

2nd February 2019 - World Tourism Association launched to combat overtourism

15th January 2019 - Hepburn Wellness Group outlines 2019 development plans

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

14th November 2018 - New study reveals strong ongoing growth in wellness tourism

17th October 2018 - Leaders and emerging entrepreneurs in wellness recognised at 2018 Global Wellness Summit

5th October 2018 - $100 million hot springs resort planned for Gippsland Lakes

15th June 2018 - Wellness to meet fashion at 2018 Global Wellness Summit

9th April 2018 - Global Wellness Summit announces ‘Shaping the Business of Wellness’ as 2018 theme

8th December 2017 - Work begins on Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa

8th June 2017 - White paper identifies challenges for Asian spa and wellness industry

5th May 2017 - 300,000 annual visitors enjoy wellness benefits of Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre

3rd February 2017 - Peninsula Hot Springs opens clay based wellness experience

28th October 2016 - Moroccan-style Hammam gets official opening at Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa

20th October 2016 - Mornington Peninsula hot springs to be exploited for wellness tourism

10th June 2016 - Fitness industry says ‘yes’ to Global Wellness Day


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