Wellness Tourism Initiative

2024 Trends

Wellness Tourism globally is now worth $651 billion annually and has a forecasted average annual expenditure growth of 16.6% to 2027. The sector provides sustainable benefits to both local regional and urban economies as well as improving the visitors mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. The GWI Wellness Tourism Initiative team are excited to share some of this year’s trends for you to consider for your destination or wellness travel offering or business. 

Wellness holidays with kids – it’s all about child enrichment

Families are increasingly valuing travel experiences that support their child’s wellbeing via education, personal development, and worldview expansion. This trend goes beyond traditional family vacations aimed solely at entertainment, focusing instead on immersive experiences that offer both fun and learning moments.  Programs include creative and hands-on workshops that focus on local traditions and foods, learning about local biodiversity and marine life conservation as well as personal growth elements that expose children to unexpected situations, teaching them to adapt to new environments and overcome challenges.  Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland offers an entire range of outdoor nature led activities for children while newcomer, Jayasom’s Family Wellness focus includes family counselling, enrichment activities, virtual reality and outdoor wellbeing excursions including a large hydrotherapy space that families can enter together. Austria’s Reiters Finest Family hosts sustainable family wellness holidays in Bad Tatzmannsdorf. This resort features over 125 ha of outdoor space plus over 400 animals for farm adventures as well as thermal waters, and a health and longevity centre for families to enjoy together.  

Recovery retreats shift their focus from Sport to Burnout

The rise of “recovery” as a trend among individuals with busy lifestyles reflects a broader shift towards prioritizing wellness and self-care in response to the fast-paced, often stressful nature of modern life. This trend encompasses a range of practices, products, and philosophies aimed at helping people recharge, rejuvenate, and heal from the physical and mental stresses of their daily routines.   Technology now plays a significant role in this trend, with wearable devices and apps that monitor stress levels, sleep quality, and physical activity to help optimize your downtime.  We are also seeing an increased accessibility to methods like photobiomodulation, hyperbaric chambers and red-light therapy which all contribute to improved cell recovery via increased circulation, reduction in inflammation and enhanced performance of normal cells. Urban wellness social clubs like “Remedy Place” in cities like California and NYC provide regular support across a variety of recovery modalities. For wellness travellers the opportunity to spend a whole week recharging at dedicated health resorts like Chenot Weggis Palace in Switzerland with the top technologies on hand to future proof your health and wellbeing. 

In Search of Calm

Mental wellness as a travel trend has been gaining significant traction over the past few years, reflecting a broader societal shift towards valuing mental health and self-care. This trend encapsulates a range of experiences and destinations designed specifically to promote emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. This trend is driven by two perspectives, the modern-day pace of life leading to stress and burn out, and a desire for more authentic experiences that created a deeper connection to self. Wellness retreats that integrate yoga, breathwork, meditation and more intensive therapy retreats are leading the industry continue to be in demand. Equine Therapy is another unique experience that incorporates horses for emotional healing.  Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Australia and NIHI Sumba in Indonesia both offer experiences and retreats connecting with horses for a transformative journey of healing, self-discovery and therapeutic process. Purpose crafted activities allow participants to gain profound insights into their emotions, communication styles, and behavioural patterns learning to build trust, assert boundaries, and embrace vulnerability. Rewilding retreats that immerse us into natural settings continue to be popular across the globe for supporting our mental wellbeing. Properties like The Dreaming, in the heart of Wales or AroHa in New Zealand help visitors establish a new connection to nature and to oneself.  A weekend of play, curiosity, healing modalities, nature immersion and ceremony all support spiritual and emotional wellbeing.  

The Growing Exploration of Wellness Travel for Men

While wellness travel historically may have been more commonly associated with women, recent data and trends indicate that more men are recognizing the importance of and investing in their holistic well-being. Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront advocating for a more integrated approach to wellness and also destigmatizing mental health issues. The trends show that men are gravitating more towards travel focused on executive health checks, adventure and fitness but are now also exploring mindfulness, breathwork and meditation retreats to reduce stress and reconnect with themselves. Eleven Experiences, at Deplar Farm in Iceland is an example of an off-grid experience that embodies an adventurous spirit fuelled by a deep connection to extraordinary landscapes of wild tundra of ice, ancient volcanoes and valleys.  The experience is complete with Viking saunas and geothermal pools- an experience made exclusively for men.  This growing interest is also supported by wellness tourism businesses and destinations developing offerings that appeal to a male demographic, promoting activities and environments where men can feel more comfortable engaging in wellness practices.  

5 Diagnostic Boom in Wellness Travel   

The rising trend of Diagnostic booms in wellness travel reflects a growing preference for tailored and proactive health approaches among travellers. Many Health and wellness operators now offer comprehensive diagnostic assessments alongside traditional wellness activities, enhancing the overall visitor experience. At Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, for example, guests can undergo thorough health evaluations encompassing genetic testing, body composition analysis, and metabolic assessments for a customized wellness journey. Similarly, the new Longevity Spa at Hotel Portrait Milano, provides cutting-edge diagnostics like DNA testing and Longevity Molecular Profile, complemented by Integrative Wellness solutions and nutrition plans. Another notable example, KĒPOS by Goco at Daios Cove in Crete, Greece, features diagnostic services such as Metabolic Biometrics and Epigenetics testing alongside wellness programs and comprehensive spa & wellness offerings. These offerings empower individuals to gain profound insights into their health status and make informed lifestyle choices while indulging in the rejuvenating benefits of travel. As travellers increasingly prioritize preventive healthcare and holistic well-being, the diagnostic booms in wellness travel are set to continue to reshape the tourism industry by seamlessly blending medical expertise with luxury hospitality. 

Art and Wellness: The Perfect Pairing   

The emerging trend of Art and wellness signifies a harmonious fusion of creative expression and holistic well-being, offering travellers immersive experiences that nourish both the body and the soul. Destinations and local communities around the world are embracing this trend by integrating art-centric activities and therapies into their wellness offerings. On a global scale, the work of Refik Anadol, a Turkish-American media artist and designer is embedding media arts into architecture worldwide with data and machine intelligence for public art, data sculpture and paintings to create abstract, dream-like environments. The main goal behind these immersive art experiences is to activate as many senses as possible and transport the audience to a simulated reality that would encourage them to step out of their worlds and familiar sensations. In a different realm we see both large Wellness hospitality operators like Como Shambhala Estate in Bali and Miraval in Arizona plus many small artisans and practitioners globally hosting wellness retreats that blend yoga and meditation with artistic workshops encouraging guests to explore their inner creativity as a pathway to self-discovery and relaxation. By integrating art into wellness travel experiences, these destinations provide travellers with enriching opportunities to reconnect with themselves and the world around them, offering a perfect balance of inspiration and rejuvenation.  

Celebrating Cultural Traditions and Healing

Indigenous healing offerings have gained prominence as part of the broader trend towards holistic wellness and the search for authentic, transformative experiences. These experiences draw on the wisdom and practices of indigenous cultures around the world, offering healing techniques that have been developed and passed down through generations. The interest in and drive behind these retreats are linked to an acknowledgement of indigenous healing practices, the holistic approach, and reconnection with the land.  We are inspired by destinations such as Wai Ariki Hot Springs, in Rotorua New Zealand where you can discover the ancient healing methods of these indigenous cultures, from the deeply cultural touch of mirri mirri or romi romi massage to the revitalizing power of blessed stones and herbal remedies. Each experience is thoughtfully crafted incorporating local healers and wellness practitioners, herbal medicine practice and ceremonies that honour the community and the land. As the world becomes increasingly globalized and homogenized, the unique, rooted, and deeply spiritual practices of indigenous cultures offer a powerful counterbalance to other competitive wellness travel offerings.  Asian traditional therapies and medicine are growing in popularity for the wellness traveller across the globe. Traditional Thai, Chinese & Ayurvedic Medicinal offerings encompass rich diagnostic protocols, herbal formulas, and treatment techniques as part of the guest experience. 

It’s All About a Good Night’s Sleep

Did you know that 58% of people feel unsatisfied with their sleep based on the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine? This has led to sleep tourism now emerging as a trend catering to the growing demand for quality sleep for overall health and well-being. As stress and sleep deprivation become more prevalent, people are seeking ways to improve their sleep. The world-renowned LANS Med Concept combines modern Mayr medicine, traditional naturopathy, the most advanced medical techniques, and is based on the idea that digestive health is critical for wellbeing. The Sleep therapy program begins with a precise diagnosis done with state-of-the-art equipment and a detailed examination of your sleep phases. A dedicated sleep therapist then creates a bespoke sleep program, heavily focused on the gut, relaxation, exercise training, and mental coaching. At RAKxa Integrative wellness retreat in Thailand, they offer a Thai Deep Sleep & Skin Radiant Therapy, which focuses on enhancing sleep quality and integrating traditional Thai Medicine and CBD oils. At the Longevity Hub By Clinique La Prairie in Bangkok visitors are offered time in the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.   

The Menopause Revolution Hits Wellness Travel

By the end of 2025, according to the North American Menopause society, it’s estimated approximately 1.1 billion women worldwide will either be experiencing or have already been through menopause. This hormonal transition and time has more than 40 different symptoms experienced by women. Women across the globe are now actively engaging in menopause retreats to share and learn from each other and gain support from health and wellbeing experts for their symptoms including brain fog, mood changes, fatigue, joint pain and night sweats, to name just a few. 

Large hospitality groups like Six Senses are catering to this segment running a three-day bespoke menopause retreat in Portugal’s Douro Valley. In Australia at the Great Ocean Road Resort, their Change of Life Retreats run regularly providing much needed time out and wellbeing experiences plus practical information and workshops. At Combe Grove, Bath UK, their metabolic health menopause retreats focus on prioritising health, managing symptoms and feeling supported.  


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