Wellness tourism is still largely a domestic practice, with international wellness tourism accounting for less than a third of the market’s revenue. Within the domestic segment, primary wellness tourists accounted for 12 percent of the revenue.
As the market grows, the ratio of international to domestic wellness tourist will remain virtually unchanged. The market share of international will increase only from 34 to 36 percent.
Those who do engage in international wellness travel hail from more developed countries, namely Europe, North America and developed Asian countries such as Japan. The U.S., France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are the preferred tourist destinations.
Spa at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Despite the prevalence of established Western countries as preferred destinations, the low-cost treatments in South America and the Middle East are seeing an increase in tourism that will help grow the market through 2020.
Wellness tourism is growing in developed countries in part due to the continuously increasing rate of double-income households, which results in higher purchasing power and relatively low volatility in disposable income. The growth of Southeast Asia, namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, is also projected to fuel the market.
The CAGR for APAC will grow at a rate of 14.35 percent, reaching $204.3 billion by 2020. The region has the most spas, adding 10,000 in the past decade alone, spurred largely by hotel and resort spas.
By contrast, the expenditure share of the top countries decreased from 63 percent in 2012 to 57 percent in 2015, with India, Mexico, China and Turkey absorbing those consumers.
Luxury travelers currently skew toward Gen X and boomers, but demand is growing from millennials. However, across all generations, word-of-mouth remains the primary motivator, and personalization and unconventional or alternative practices are also gaining popularity.
Men are also making themselves known in the market, as their inclination toward spas and services ranging from massages to manicures and pedicures grows. This is particularly true of older men trying to maintain their appearance, but young men are also starting to see grooming and beauty as a necessity.
About 10 percent of U.S. cosmetic patients are male, and the number seeking it in Germany has doubled. With men venturing into the territory of cosmetic surgery, it follows that they will be receptive to hotels’ wellness initiatives as well.
Worldwide shifts in lifestyle are also preparing the wellness tourism market for growth. The necessity for health and wellness follows naturally from increased awareness; anti-aging measures are gaining popularity in the East and the West; wellness initiatives are also treating recently discovered negative health effects of stress.