Unlocking the Potential of Wellness Tourism: Free Wellbeing Policy Toolkit

2024-04-02 04:00:00

Many businesses, governments, communities and travelers have a limited understanding of wellness tourism. Non-profit organisation, GWI, launches a free toolkit that identifies six key barriers that currently prevent wellness tourism from delivering broad health and wellbeing benefits.

It also presents policy ideas that help everyone get more benefits from tourism: improving the quality of the place for tourists, making tourism more successful, and improving the well-being of local residents and the destination.

Wellbeing Policy Toolkit

Wellness in tourism introduces a new paradigm that expands the focus of wellness tourism to well-being in tourism. As such, the toolkit does not replicate wellness tourism strategies that seek to develop luxury spa resorts and attract high-spending tourists. Rather, the goal is to unite the concepts of wellness and tourism in the broadest possible sense: How can wellness support tourism? And how can tourism support the well-being of travelers, destinations and local residents?

Who should use the physical activity toolkit?

This toolkit is designed to help anyone interested in policy approaches that integrate wellbeing broadly into tourism, placemaking and local development. The policy strategies presented cover wellness tourism, sustainable and responsible tourism, equitable well-being, quality of life, place-making and place-keeping. As such, they can be applied by those working in hospitality and tourism companies, tourism promotion, destination management, economic development; those that represent the well-being of workers and the community; and those who advocate for the protection of cultural heritage and the environment.

Many businesses, governments, communities and travelers have a limited understanding of wellness tourism

The way wellness tourism is currently portrayed and marketed by tourism businesses and promotional organizations often conveys a very narrow view of what it is. When potential travelers search for “wellness travel” or “wellness” along with any destination, they will mostly find luxury coastal resorts, spas, and sometimes yoga and meditation retreats. Similarly, when the travel industry and destinations want to attract wellness travelers, they often highlight their “top ten wellness retreats,” spa resorts, or other specific types of properties. In fact, these experiences fit the ideas of GWI.

The definition of primary wellness travel is: where wellness is the primary goal and motivation of the trip. However, this is not the only form of wellness tourism. Less understood are secondary wellness trips, where wellness may not be the primary goal of the trip, but the traveler’s wellness values ​​and lifestyle shape decisions throughout the trip. Examples of secondary wellness trips include business or leisure travelers who are actively seeking healthy accommodations, food, and exercise.

Options during a work trip or visiting friends/family

According to GWI estimates, secondary wellness travel accounted for 88% of all wellness travel and 85% of wellness tourism spending in 2022. Of the $651 billion in wellness tourism spending in 2022, only some was spent on luxury resorts and spa treatments. In fact, a large portion of these expenses go toward other types of accommodations, food, shopping, entertainment, and excursions that are not considered part of the wellness industry. Market research since the COVID-19 pandemic points to growing consumer interest in health and wellness during all types of travel, with a more intentional focus on mental well-being, sleep, exercise, healthy eating , nature, wonders and authentic interactions with local culture. and communities. As consumers increasingly filter all of their travel decisions and spending through a wellness lens, all tourism stakeholders – travel businesses, service providers and policymakers – must shift their understanding of tourism. well-being to reflect a broader approach that encompasses both primary and secondary well-being. travel, along with the local wellness economy.

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