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Statistics & Facts

Since 2007, many landmark research reports have been commissioned and published.  They are available in their entirety for free here. Below are some of the key charts from each report, the updated, topline industry figures and the GWI official definition of wellness, wellness tourism and spa.

The Latest Numbers

The global wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market.Key sectors include:

  • Beauty & Anti-Aging ($999 bil.)
  • Healthy Eating, Nutrition & Weight Loss ($648 bil.)
  • Wellness Tourism ($563 bil.)
  • Fitness & Mind-Body ($542 bil.)
  • Preventative & Personalized Medicine and Public Health ($534 bil.)
  • Complementary & Alternative Medicine ($199 bil.)
  • Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate ($119 bil.)
  • Spa Industry ($99 bil.)
  • Thermal/Mineral Springs ($51 bil.)
  • Workplace Wellness ($43 bil.)

The global wellness industry grew 10.6% from 2013-2015: from a $3.36 trillion to $3.72 trillion market.

Global wellness tourism revenues grew from $494.1 billion in 2013 to $563.2 billion in 2015 – or 14%. A growth rate more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures (6.9%).

World travelers made 691 million wellness trips in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.

The global spa market grew from $94 billion in 2013 to  $98.6 billion in 2015.

World spa locations jumped from 105,591 in 2013 to 121,595 in 2015. Since 2013, the spa industry added 16,000 spas, more than 230,000 workers (to reach 2.1 million), and $3.5 billion in revenue.

The number of global thermal/mineral springs properties grew from 26,847 in 2013 to 27,507 in 2015. These businesses earned $51 billion in 2015, up 2% (from $50 billion) from 2013.

The global workplace wellness industry grew 6.4% from 2013-2015, from $40.7 billion to $43.3 billion.

The global wellness real estate market was one of the fastest-growing wellness sectors from 2013-2015: growing 19% from $100 billion to $118.6 billion.

Wellness Defined

Consistent with the World Health Organization’s definition of “health,” the 2013 Global Wellness Tourism Economy report defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.* It goes beyond mere freedom from disease or infirmity and emphasizes the proactive maintenance and improvement of health and well-being. Expressed on a continuum that extends from reactive to proactive approaches to health, wellness falls firmly on the proactive side, incorporating attitudes and activities that prevent disease, improve health, enhance quality of life, and bring a person to increasingly optimum levels of well-being.**

* Preamble to the Constitution of the WHO, www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html.
** The continuum concept is adapted from Dr. Jack Travis’ Illness Wellness Continuum. Travis was one of the pioneers of the modern wellness movement in the late 1970s.

Workplace Wellness

Wellness at work is the right to work in a manner that is healthy, safe, motivating, and edifying. We are responsible for conducting work in a way that improves our wellness and the wellness of others. Already a $40 billion industry, despite the fact that only 9% of the 3 billion-plus global workers have access to some type of workplace wellness program at their jobs.

Wellness Tourism Defined

The wellness tourism economy is all expenditures made by tourists who seek to improve or maintain their well-being during or as a result of their trip. It includes different types of expenditures and tourists:

International Wellness Tourism Receipts: All receipts earned by a country from inbound wellness tourists, with an overnight stay.

Domestic Wellness Tourism Expenditures: All expenditures in a country made by wellness tourists who are traveling within their own country of residence, with an overnight stay.

Primary Wellness Tourists: Where wellness is the sole purpose or motivating factor for the trip or destination choice. These tourists account for 13% of wellness tourism trips and 16% of expenditures. 

Secondary Wellness Tourists: Seek to maintain their wellness or participate in wellness experiences while taking any kind of trip. Accounts for the significant majority of wellness tourism trips (87%) and expenditures (84%). 

Spa Defined

An inherent goal of the 2007 Global Spa Economy report was to promote the value of flexibility in defining the term “spa” and to understand its different interpretations by businesses and consumers around the world. With this end in mind, the team from SRI International put forth the following definition for spas:

Spas are defined as establishments that promote wellness through the provision of therapeutic and other professional services aimed at renewing the body, mind, and spirit.

Most consumers and industry executives would agree that at its core – no matter its size, form, or business model – a spa is an establishment that focuses on the promotion of wellness. The concepts of wellness, the healing traditions drawn upon, and the therapeutic techniques applied differ dramatically across both nations and businesses.

Research Reports

Full Global Wellness Institute research reports are available for free download and print purchase here. Click graphs to enlarge.

Please note that all reports are the property of the Global Wellness Institute. Quotation of, citation from, and reference to any of the data, findings, and research methodology from the report must be credited to the Global Wellness Institute. To obtain permission for copying and reproduction, please contact the Global Wellness Institute by email at info@globalwellnessinstitute.org.

The Future of Wellness at Work

The Global Spa & Wellness Economy Monitor 2014

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The Global Wellness Economy: 2013 & 2014

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Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps 2012

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Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where do Spas Fit? 2011

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Spas and the Global Wellness Market: Synergies and Opportunities 2010

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