It is striking that tourism doesn’t get more attention among policymakers. With the exception of some countries like Argentina, Rwanda or Portugal, few pursue a truly active travel and tourism policy. Yet the industry contributes around 10 percent of total jobs and global GDP. Most importantly, it is growing much faster than GDP in many countries where it has the potential to partly fix the mounting issues of migration and populism. How? On the supply side, by creating a multitude of jobs that are anchored in the local community, and, on the demand side, by opening our minds. As Mark Twain put it: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” An area of interest for investors is sustainable tourism, which preserves the quality of tourism assets without borrowing from the future. A plethora of start-ups is fueling this boom.
This point is so obviously important for the wellness industry that it doesn’t deserve much further elaboration. There is one exception though: globally, the wellness tourism industry could do a better job at explaining the benefits it brings in terms of economic and societal advancement.
As national economies grow and move along the tourism supply curve (i.e., their wellness offerings improve), the ratio of wellness tourism to overall tourism tends to significantly increase. In so doing, the wellness industry contributes to economic growth in a way that is much cleaner and socially responsible than many other industries (say mining or energy). Also, the second-round effects in terms of employment and community building are significant.