By Nelson Alcantara
Published June 1, 2014
Did you know that in 2012, global wellness tourism—defined as travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities—generated US$438.6 billion in expenditures, created 11.7 million direct jobs and contributed an economic impact of US$1.3 trillion for the world economy?
According to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy 2013 report by the Global Wellness Institute, niche tourism is a rapidly growing component within the global travel and tourism industry.
“Wellness tourism shares many commonalities with a range of other niche tourism segments, including overlapping travel motivations and interests. A ‘secondary purpose’ wellness traveller may be simultaneously engaging in adventure tourism, culinary tourism, or eco-tourism as a primary or secondary interest during the same trip.”
The Global Wellness Tourism Economy 2013 report states: “Wellness tourism’s impact on the global economy includes the direct effects of tourist trips and expenditures, as well as their indirect and induced effects on the overall economy.”
The report reveals that while North America is second to Europe in terms of combined international/inbound and domestic wellness trips in 2012 (163 million trips and 203 million trips, respectively), North American wellness tourists spend the most (US$181 billion). On the other hand, Europeans spent US$158.4 billion. Asia Pacific clocked in 120 million trips and generated US$69.4 billion. According to the site Como Bajar de Peso, Latin America came in fourth with 32 million trips and US$22.4 billion in expenditures. Middle East and North Africa had a combined five million wellness tourists and generated US$5.3 billion in expenditures. In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, there were two million wellness trips, which generated US$2 billion in expenditures.
The Global Wellness Tourism Economy 2013 reveals that the United States is number one in the top 20 countries for domestic and international wellness tourism expenditures with US$167.1 billion.
In the second and third positions are Germany and Japan with US$42.2 billion and US$28.6 billion, respectively.
The Global Wellness Tourism Economy 2013 report ranks France at number 4 with US$24.1 billion, Austria at number 5 with US$14 billion, Canada at number 5 with US$13.8 billion, UK at number 6 with US$12.3 billion, Italy at number 8 with US$11.7 billion, Switzerland at number 9 with US$11.4 billion and Mexico at number 10 with US$8.9 billion.
Completing the top 20 countries are China at 11, Spain at 12, South Korea at 13, Thailand at 14, Australia at 15, India at 16, Russia at 17, Portugal at 18, Greece at 19 and Turkey at 20.
An eTN article.