70+ Wellness Tourism Industry Statistics 2021 [Research Review]

Posted on 02 November, 2023 by Nicholas Rizzo

The global health and wellness industry is valued at $1.5 trillion, seeing a huge growth over a couple of years as more people invest in their health because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wellness tourism, or travel related to improving health and wellbeing, is one of the market segments that has seen an uptick over the years.

To highlight some of the most interesting wellness tourism industry statistics, we have collected data from over 15 sources covering topics such as wellness tourism market growth, wellness traveler behavior, and more.

Global wellness tourism industry

  • As of 2020, the global wellness tourism industry was worth $735.8 billion and has grown by 15.1% from $639 billion from 2017
  • By 2022, the global wellness tourism market is expected to reach $919 billion and will continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6%, to reach a projected value of $1.2 trillion by 2027.
  • From 2015 to 2017, the global wellness tourism industry grew by 6.5% per year, which is twice faster than the global economic growth
  • In 2015, global wellness travelers spent:
    • $25.6 billion in hotel and resort spas
    • $7.7 billion at destination spas and health resorts

International and domestic wellness travel

  • International wellness tourism is expected to grow 12% annually in the next 7 years
  • By the end of the analysis period (2020 to 2027), wellness tourism domestically is expected to record a CAGR of 4.7%, reaching $779.1 billion
  • In 2017, about 830 million international and domestic trips were done by wellness travelers
  • Wellness tourism represents about 17% of the overall tourism expenditures
  • The average spending of 
    • international wellness tourists amount to $1,528 per trip, which is 53% higher than typical international tourists
    • domestic wellness tourist is about $609 per trip, which is 178% more than the usual domestic trip
  • Primary wellness travelers, or those whose sole purpose for traveling is to reach wellness destinations or for wellness experiences, make up 14% of wellness travelers
  • Secondary wellness travelers, or those who are on a business or leisure trip that choose to participate in wellness experiences, is responsible for
    • 89% of the total wellness expenditures
    • 86% of wellness travelers
  • Wellness cruises can cost
    • $2,350 for a 4-day trip 
    • $6,250 for a 6-day trip
  • According to 71% of travel agents from North America and Europe, people are now more aware of wellness tourism than before

Wellness tourism market by region

According to the analysis from ResearandMarkets, the following regions will see significant growth during the forecast period of 2020 to 2027:

  • United States - the estimated value of $212.7 billion at the end of 2020
  • China - projected to reach $220 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.5%
  • Canada - 6% market growth per year
  • Germany - 4.2% CAGR during the analysis period
  • Japan - is expected to grow 3.6% annually
  • In India, wellness tourism creates five million jobs

A separate analysis by GlobalData, projects that wellness trips to Asia will reach 128.3 million by 2022

  • International wellness trips to Asia-Pacific is expected to reach 850 million, growing 5% annually from 2019 to 2022
  • The wellness tourism market in Thailand is projected to reach $2.5 billion, growing at a CAGR of 9% from 2019 to 2022
  • During the forecast period, wellness tourism trips to Thailand is expected to reach 27.7 million, at a CAGR of 5.6%
  • Wellness tourists going to Thailand spend
    • $794.7 million in spas
    • $663 million for medical tourism

From 2016 to 2017, wellness tourism spending in key European countries increased by:

  • 13.1% in Russia
  • 12.6% in Turkey
  • 12.4% in Poland
  • 8.9% in Switzerland
  • 8.9%  in Hungary
  • 8.9% in the Czech Republic
  • 6.9% in Austria
  • 6.2% in Spain
  • 5.5% in France
  • 4.7% in Germany

Wellness travel survey results

Out of 5,000 millennials:

  • 40% said that they prefer going on a fitness retreat with their favorite instructor than spending time in a five-star resort
  • 42% of 8,000 millennials surveyed said that they prefer good food and healthier options during a trip
  • 24% said they would give up alcohol
  • 33% of millennial wellness travelers plan on using travel agents for their next trip
  • 44% of millennial wellness travelers find using travel agents worth the price

According to a survey done by the Wellness Tourism Association,

  • 25% of wellness travelers prefer to go on a trip alone
  • 24% stated that wellness 'will' or 'could' be the focus of their wellness trip
  • 20% of employees were extremely likely to book a wellness vacation in the next 2 years

Furthermore, some of the reasons employees want to take wellness trips are: 

  • To feel rejuvenated when they go back to everyday life - 38%
  • To take a break from the demands of everyday life - 26%
  • To experience outdoor activities - 25%
  • To improve physical and emotional health - 24%
  • To immerse themselves in nature - 24%
  • To find peace and quiet - 21%
  • To improve sleep quality - 17%
  • To learn general ways to improve their health - 17%

According to the Travel Association:

  • 34% of people going on a trip plan on doing activities and experiences focused on health and wellbeing
  • Travelers plan on spending four and a half hours a day doing yoga, meditation, spa and other holistic treatments
  • They also plan on taking 2 hours or more a day away from gadgets
  • Only 12% of wellness travelers use fitness trackers during their trip
  • The most popular wellness activities include:
    • Spa treatments - 42%
    • Meditation/silent time - 39%
    • Holistic therapies (Reiki and chakra balancing) - 14%
  • The top reasons for going on a wellness trip include

Medical tourism

Medical tourism has been interchanged with the term wellness tourism, but this segment is specific to travelers seeking medical intervention in other places which can include life-saving surgeries and cosmetic surgeries.

  • In 2020, the medical tourism market was valued at $15 billion, growing at a rate of 10 to 15% annually
  • An estimated 14 million people all over the globe travel for medical purposes each year
  • In 2018, medical trips, costs $3,800 to $6,000 per person which includes fees for:
    • medical procedure
    • transportation (local or cross-border)
    • inpatient stay and accommodations
  • Medical travelers' top destinations include (alphabetical order)
    • Costa Rica
    • India
    • Israel
    • Malaysia
    • Mexico
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand
    • Turkey
    • United States
  • Patients traveling from the U.S. save the most when they seek medical care from
    • India - 65 to 90% savings
    • Malaysia - 65 to 80% savings
    • Thailand - 50 to 75% savings
    • Turkey - 50 to 65% savings

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Use of content

  • If the wellness tourism industry statistics piqued your interest, you can reach out to Nick Rizzo at nick@runrepeat.com. He’s also available to do interviews.
  • Feel free to use data found in this article on any online publication. We only request that you link back to this original source.


















Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.