Report Shows Tremendous Growth of Spa and Wellness Travel

A new report from independent research institute SRI International shows that the spa industry has more than doubled since 2007 By: Chelsee Lowe
A new study shows that wellness travel is booming. // © 2014 Thinkstock
A new study shows that wellness travel is booming. // © 2014 Thinkstock

The Details

Global Spa and Wellness Summit

At the recent Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) in Marrakech, Morocco, independent research institute SRI International released findings on the global wellness market. The report stated that the spa industry has grown 58 percent since 2007 and that wellness travel overall showed a 12.5 percent increase last year alone, rising faster than forecasts had predicted.

Why it Matters:
Data from SRI’s report indicates that the rapidly expanding spa and wellness travel industries show no signs of slowing down, so savvy travel agents would do well to familiarize themselves with these sectors in order to grow business. In addition to growth in the traditional spa market, SRI data shows that the global hot springs market has also made significant gains, with nearly 27,000 facilities across 103 countries.

Fast Facts:
- From 2007 to 2013, spa locations grew 47%, jumping from 71,762 to 105,591.

- The global hot springs market is now worth $50 billion, with nearly 27,000 facilities across 103 nations.

- As a $494 billion industry, wellness tourism represents more than one in seven (14.6 percent) of all travel dollars spent worldwide.

- Wellness-focused trips jumped from 524 million to 586.5 million from 2012 to 2013.

- Wellness tourists remain big spenders. International wellness travelers spend 59 percent more than the average border-crossing tourist, while domestic wellness tourists spend 159 percent more.

What They Are Saying:
“It has been six long years since our first spa industry research report, and to see nearly 60 percent growth across years marked by global financial collapse was as impressive as it was unexpected,” said Ophelia Yeung, a senior consultant with SRI. “Also exceeding our expectations: the growth in the wellness tourism market last year and the sheer scope of the thermal/mineral springs industry. And key economic and demographic trends, we predict, will continue to fuel growth for these three segments, including the rise of the global middle class (at two billion people now, but expected to skyrocket to five billion by 2030); ongoing, phenomenal momentum for tourism, generally; millions more people each year proactively seeking a ‘wellness lifestyle;’ and the story of developing markets, and so many new properties, across Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America.”