The Global Wellness Industry

The Global Wellness Industry

I recently completed my training to become a Certified SELECT Wellness Specialist – Travel Advisor. I think I’ve hit my webinar quota for the year, but I found the global wellness trends fascinating. Everyone always talk about how the global wellness industry, and specifically wellness tourism, is booming but what does this really mean?

The Global Wellness Institute (“GWI”) released its Global Wellness Report at the end of 2018 and I have summarized some of the highlights below.

Not only is the wellness industry growing at a rapid pace, the definition of wellness is evolving and the way it is incorporated into our lives is also changing.

According to the GWI, the Global Wellness Economy was valued at over $4.2 trillion in 2017 and it’s currently growing faster than global economic growth. Wellness tourism comprises $639bn of this figure and is growing at a rate of 6.5% per year (compared to 3.2% growth for general tourism). It is expected to reach over $900bn by 2022.


GWI identifies 10 key wellness silos which are starting to converge as we integrate wellness into our homes, work and travel. For example, gyms are offering hotels, hotels are offering healthy eating options and workplaces are launching fitness and wellness concepts. Wellness is no longer just fitting the gym into our daily routine, a wellness mindset affects all of our daily decisions. The findings show that wellness is evolving from confining ourselves to a personal wellness bubble to linking our wellbeing to other people, our communities and the planet.

GWI defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing”. Europe and North America are the most popular destinations for wellness travel, but the fastest growing market is Asia.

There are now several options for wellness travelers including destination spas, wellness resorts, retreats etc. A number of cruise lines are also partnering with wellness advisors. Blue World Voyages is a new cruise line dedicated solely to health & fitness.

As a wellness specialist I will be focusing on researching and visiting these wellness properties in order to identify the best locations for travelers looking for specific types of wellness holidays.

As a relatively new sector, the global wellness industry is sure to evolve substantially over the next 10 years. We can expect it to grow, become further integrated and expand in scope. We are excited to be a part of this growing wellness trend.

Lisa Gordon

Co-Founder, Movement Travel