It may come as no surprise to some that wellness tourism here and abroad is now rising above the overall tourism industry. Latest numbers show that the global market for wellness tourism has grown to $450 billion and is projected to increase by more than 9% this year—nearly 50% faster than overall global tourism.  With the emerging need to counter the health risk factors in the country, like heart disease, which ranks as the number one killer in Australia and diabetes, costing the health sector almost $15 billion per year, more consumers are now fighting back and are actively finding ways to prevent disease and incorporate wellness into their lives.
The change in Australians’ holiday patterns away from ‘fly-and-flop’ vacations to more visits with an emphasis on preventive and curative medicine has seen Health and Fitness Travel, specialists in wellness holidays worldwide, report a 300% growth in demand since operating in 2014. It used to be that a holiday was a chance to overindulge and laze about, but now, people are focusing on improving their quality of life and embracing a healthy lifestyle trickling over to travel plans and even becoming the focus.
As consumers travel to maintain, manage and improve health and well-being, some also do it to find preventive measures to foreseen health risks. We are now seeing the emergence of medical spas that involve actual medical check-ups from doctors and specialists, sometimes paired with eastern traditional medicine. Alternative healing holidays including Ayurvedic spas and complementary medicine retreats are also on the rise, particularly in Asia. The usage of complementary or alternative medicine has increased significantly from 2002 and as per WHO, reports around 3 billion people globally have used it in some form .
Apart from Australia’s ageing population, health risk factors and cultural revolution towards health and fitness, there is another huge driver that ensures the demand for wellness tourism, and it lies with outlook of the Australian economy. Given the strength of the Australian dollars relative to its neighboring countries, consumers are likely to travel overseas in search for a more exotic and affordable wellness destination and to support their health in tandem with their medical professionals at home. Not only does wellness tourism strive to improve the well-being of our general population, it also brings about revenues, stimulates entrepreneurship and creates jobs. As long as we continue to seek healthier lifestyles and breakaway from bad habits, wellness tourism is here to stay and will carry on revolutionising the face of travel as we know it.
Samantha Lippiatt heads up the Australian division of Health and Fitness Travel and has an unbridled enthusiasm for all things travel, health and fitness. With her experience in both industries she extends the perfect combination of health and well-being experiences to the Southern Hemisphere, for our local clientele enabling them to embrace a healthy holiday in line with their personal health and fitness goals. When not in the office Samantha can usually be found at the beach or in the ocean taking part in her two favourite hobbies of kiteboarding and scuba diving.
 Global Wellness Summit: Wellness Tourism Economy Executive Summary
 Set U Health Care: www.setuhealthcare.com/wellness-center/wellness-tourism/cam-tourism.html