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The Next Wellness Tourism Hot Spot

February 5, 2020

February 5, 2020

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The Next Wellness Tourism Hot Spot

Wellness: It’s a $4.2 trillion industry. While things like vegan diets and meditation may have been considered somewhat bohemian a decade ago, wellness is a mainstream concept for consumers today. As well as practicing holistic lifestyles at home, people now expect to maintain and further explore wellness on their holidays.

Wellness: It’s a $4.2 trillion industry. While things like vegan diets and meditation may have been considered somewhat bohemian a decade ago, wellness is a mainstream concept for consumers today. As well as practicing holistic lifestyles at home, people now expect to maintain and further explore wellness on their holidays.

Enter wellness tourism, where a $4.2 trillion industry intersects with one worth $2.6 trillion. From A-lister elites to backpackers, this new style of travel is attracting all kinds of people with diverse budgets and motivations who want to explore things like meditation, massage, different cultures, and healthy eating. 

This new style of holistic travel has grown exponentially in the past seven years. In 2013, wellness tourism was in its infancy when the Global Wellness Institute released the first report outlining its basic principles. In 2017, it had become a $639 billion industry. It’s projected to reach $919 billion by 2022. 

From yoga retreats and spas to outdoor adventure, businesses in wellness tourism aim to return to what holidays should be all about – restoration and relaxation. 

But wellness tourism doesn’t just benefit the tourists. 

Almost half of all international travellers visit just 100 global destinations. This mass tourism has had a major impact on the local communities of many of the most famous destinations like Venice and Bali. 

Meanwhile, wellness tourism is a powerful tool to mitigate the negative effects that today’s mass tourism has on local communities, such as race-to-the-bottom competition and out-of-control crowds. 

Wellness travellers tend to spend 53% more than the typical tourist. This gives locals more opportunities to offer more sustainable and holistic tourist attractions like farm-to-table experiences and authentic cultural activities. This type of tourism also reduces the pressure of seasonality. Tourists seeking a quiet getaway have more opportunities to retreat to wellness destinations in the off-season. This also creates more year-round economic stability for local communities. 

So where are the wellness tourism destinations? From Australia to Croatia, it’s a growing sector in every continent. However, over half the projected growth will take place in the global south, and Indonesia is already a key player. 

While Indonesia doesn’t actively promote it in its key messaging strategy, wellness tourism grew 22% between 2015 and 2017. It’s number seven on the top ten Asian wellness destinations, only behind places with better existing infrastructure like Japan and Australia. 

Indonesia’s major wellness destination is, of course, Bali. Balinese culture is steeped in healing traditions. Bali is a world leader in luxury spa tourism. Almost all of Bali’s major hotels offer world-class spa facilities. However, it’s not all high-end. 

Most tourists flock to Bali for its affordability, including those in search of wellness. As a result, there is a lot of opportunity for the mid- to low-budget wellness tourist or backpacker in Bali. A local masseuse, for example, may charge less than $5 for a one hour massage. The downside of this affordability and immense popularity is an often overcrowded and inauthentic experience. 

So where will wellness travellers who are looking for a combination of luxury, seclusion, and authentic experiences go next? 

Lombok could be the next natural step for Indonesia to develop its wellness tourism industry. Lombok is a hop, skip, and jump from Bali. In many ways, it offers similar experiences – things like yoga retreats, meditation, outdoor adventure, cultural events, and farm-to-table restaurants are in ample supply in Lombok. So what’s the difference? Lombok is still a secret among your typical tourists. 

For wellness travellers who want a combination of luxury, authenticity, and seclusion, Lombok is a promising alternative to backpacker-centric Bali.

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