What is wellness travel? Wellness tourism is defined as travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being though physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. Getting down to it, that’s most travel no? Do we not travel for the purpose of getting away? That would be psychological travel reasoning no? Regardless of my summary it is a growing market that is rapidly expanding.
The U.S. is the largest wellness tourism market by expenditure with $202.2 billion spent on wellness travel in 2015. European travellers took the most wellness trips in 2015 (nearly 250 million) while Asia-Pacific, led by China, is the fastest-growing market for wellness travel with 193.9 million trips and $111.2 billion spent on wellness travel in 2015 for 27.8 and 32.2 percent growth, respectively.
I have a girlfriend who has been battling breast cancer for the last year. She has found out over the weekend she has cancer in her bones and liver. It is not going away. She has been so brave and so remarkably strong. Her family has been so incredibly supportive and positive. They deal with what is in front of them and the march united.
And oh good god, if anyone deserves a holiday it is all of them. Not just my awe-inspiring friend, but her husband, her very young children, her sister and her husband, her parents and all her warrior girlfriends standing besides, behind and gathering together to shower her with support and a huge dose of love.
There are two types of wellness tourism. One is an escape and way to get away, learn to cope and absorb and make big decisions how illnesses will affect your life going forward. The other is for treatment itself. Sunshine and various springs have been sought after since Victorian times (and earlier) for their medicinal values.
My lovely spirited friend and her delightful painted lips could use both types right now. Some magical bone cancer treatment centre in anywhere if it provides hope. The hope of time with her children and her husband. Wouldn’t you travel to the depths of the Amazon jungle and climb the highest mountain in the world if the cure was there?
Her family surrounding her just want to find a house that fits them all and sit on the deck watching the sun rise and fall daily for ever more. It’s the little things they need. They want to build a bank of treasured moments to bask in the glory of who she is and all she has done.
For most people, it may not be a serious illness that sparks the desire for travel but rather preventative health. We all know women setting off on yoga retreats and competing in triathlons or marathons around the globe. It’s an excuse to try something different but also a purpose to train for and work towards.
Thailand is popular for those wishing for affordable plastic surgery. Switzerland has some ground-breaking IVF treatments. Bali is a hotspot for yoga retreats and surf-trips alike. Many of these type experiences hint at spiritual awakening through techniques and destinations.
Whether it be for a yoga retreat, a surf trip, or searching for the relief from some of the world’s natural resources such as water and salt therapies. Hotel and Resort spas are bug business and no one does these better than Asia. Make sure you do your research in to what is offered and what you can expect to receive for that.
This is a growing sector of the industry and it is not going anywhere. Next time you are considering treatments, the world is now accessible and you may be able to consider treatments in places other than your own back yard. For my friend, I can only pray for advances in medical treatments and a large house with a deck to fill our weekends for the next little while.
What wellness destinations have you considered and what treatments/ experiences did you go for?