Wellness Travel Trends Bringing In 2019

February 27, 2019
Jen Corley (she/her)
4 min read

If wellness-related travel is your business, then keeping an eye on the latest wellness travel trends will help you stay in touch with the latest interests shaping the industry.

Wellness travel is growing fast, much faster than regular tourism according to the Global Wellness Institute's 2018 report. So aside from the fulfillment you get from running a wellness business, it is also a booming time to be involved.

We’ve gathered some of the latest insights and statistics from across the web to put you in the know.

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The Two Types Of Wellness Traveller

First off, GWI’s report identified two types of wellness travelers.

The first are primary wellness travelers who chose a trip based on the wellness offerings, for example, people who participate in immersive, location-based, yoga or meditation retreats.

Then we also have secondary wellness travelers who like to incorporate elements of wellness into a trip, although it is not the primary focus. Examples here would be to practice yoga or meditation, visit the gym, prioritize healthy food etc. while they are away.

We have differentiated between the two, simply because the latter group sees larger growth in the industry at the moment.

What the information really means is, even if you are not heading up a specialized wellness business, there are still certain practices reflected in the latest wellness travel trends that you can incorporate into your travel company or group tour offerings to help it succeed.

Wellness Travel Trends

Statistics and Key Findings

We will start with the statistics from GWI’s report. Globally, the wellness tourism industry was estimated to be worth $639 billion in 2017 and growing at a rate of 6.3% annually. That is more than twice the growth rate of regular tourism.

82% of wellness travel takes place on domestic routes, however, the last few years have seen international trips growing at a faster pace annually.

The industry has high yield too. International wellness tourists on average spend 53% more than the regular international tourists, while domestic wellness tourists spend an impressive 178% more than the regulars.

Going forward, projections are that the industry will see a growth rate of 7.5% annually through 2022. These forecasts are aligned with the expected and current growth in business sectors that promote a holistic and healthy lifestyle.

The Latest Wellness Travel Trends

Let us look in closer detail at some of the trends in the industry that you may want to incorporate into your own business.

Here we took a look at what Health and Fitness Travel, who sell wellness holidays, and the Wellness Tourism Association, a non-profit membership-based community site for the industry, had to say about the year ahead.


Focus on outdoors and nature getaways

Most city dwellers will agree they don’t spend enough time in nature or out of the office. As a result, retreats or trips that take place in nature are popular as they provide the chance to get outside.

The benefits of being in nature are numerous, not to mention it has been scientifically proven that being outdoors reduces stress and depression.

Sunshine and fresh air let people clear out the mind and lungs. Combine that with beautiful natural landscapes which encourage exploration and discovery, and you have a winner.

Naturally, sunny and warm locations encourage exploration, and Health and Fitness Travel report India, Australia, and Spain as some of their popular destinations.

Being active

Inactivity is the root to so many problems we experience in our bodies, so getaways with a focus on being active are one of the more prominent wellness travel trends.

These trips are often designed to help people make meaningful changes to their lifestyle in order to be more active on regular basis.

Through transformative experiences on an active getaway, travelers are introduced to fun activities they may not have tried otherwise. These could include running, yoga, cycling or hiking.

The community and sharing aspect of going through the experiences as a group provides support that people can take away with them once their trip ends.

Among others, Thailand and the Caribbean were popular destinations here.

Surfing wellness activity

Sugar detox

As the name suggests, this one is all about what people put into their bodies. These types of detox retreats are aimed at helping people uncover and identify unusual places they can find sugar in food, and then detox at the same time.

Usually hosted at a spa or wellness resort, travelers are extensively pampered and catered for during a revitalizing getaway.

Italy, India, and Thailand were the top destinations in this category.

Sleep performance

Poor quality sleep has a number of implications in peoples’ daily lives. It can affect their performance and focus, decrease their ability to make decisions, and slow down their reaction times.

Sleep enhancement wellness retreats offer programs that combine holistic treatments and sleep tips to help people function at their optimum.

Destinations such as Switzerland, Portugal, and Mauritius cropped up for these types of retreats.

Spa wellness

Silence and meditation retreats

People are hardly ever able to be rid of the constant noise that surrounds them. The sound of cars, people, airplanes, the media, and other things that fill our world rarely truly quieten to give us time to achieve absolute clarity.

This is why silent and meditation retreats feature among the latest wellness travel trends. They follow suit of the century-old practice that periods of silence help to improve mental clarity and mindfulness.

They are a popular choice with people who wish to clear their thoughts, rid themselves of negativity and lead a more peaceful lifestyle.

Other notable trends

Any travel industry and not only wellness will indicate that travelers are more inclined to customize their experiences in some way. One of the wellness travel trends that indicate this inclination is the higher occurrence of different itinerary lengths.

It has become more common for options such as three-day, five-day or seven-day yoga retreats lead by a single retreat leader to be available for booking over consecutive dates for example. People want to be given the choice of how long they spend on their trip.

Lastly, the demand for yoga retreats is unquestionable. Yoga’s prevalent presence as a practice in a number of other different wellness retreats and trips is a testament to its holistic benefits.

Health food wellness


As the shift to holistic and taking care of oneself as a whole continues its onward march, people have increasingly sought to fulfill these needs through travel.

This is because it provides a separation from everyday routine and a lot of the time, gives people the chance to step back, take care of themselves as well as be taken care of.

As a result, a number of wellness travel trends have emerged. Though they may change from year to year, they ultimately reflect the value that wellness travel adds to peoples lives.