The Economic Impact of Wellness Travel on Small, Tourism-Dependent Countries 

For counties like Aruba and Seychelles, wellness is an outsized percentage of total GDP     

The GWI’s new research report, the first to measure the wellness economies of 150 nations, ranks countries by the annual, average consumer spend on wellness. What’s surprising is that countries such as Aruba and Seychelles rank so high on this measure, as they’re not wealthy like other nations high on the list, such as the US or Switzerland.  

This is the tourism effect, where high-spending inbound wellness tourists represent a disproportionate part of the wellness market—and result in wellness representing a major part of these nations’ overall GDP. When you rank countries by the ratio of the size of their wellness market to the size of their total economy, small, tourism-dependent countries really jump out. The top 5 (and the percentage that the wellness market contributes to total GDP) are Seychelles (16.5%), Maldives (14.5%), Aruba (11.9%), Costa Rica (11.4%), and St. Lucia (10%). This is a window into the incredible contribution that wellness tourism brings to their economies, but also shows how in these countries wellness is more of an “export industry” and mostly out of reach for locals. 

Download full report here 


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