Wellness tourism involves travel with the aim of facilitating well-being and good health through psychological, spiritual, or physical activities. Wellness tourism differs markedly from medical tourism. The former involves tourism focused on prevention of diseases and maintaining quality of life, whereas the latter generally involves travel for the purpose of receiving treatment for a diagnosed disease or medical condition. Wellness tourism encompasses diverse industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness into their daily lives. These products and services help consumers extend wellness to their homes and work environments with their daily activities such as having food and exercise.
A key factor driving the global wellness tourism market is the rise in disposable incomes, particularly in developing countries, owing to rapid growth of economies of these countries. Higher income levels have also shifted the trend toward increased discretionary spending, particularly on wellness goods and services. According to certain estimates, the average per capita disposable income in the Asia Pacific region increased by 19.3% from 2007 to 2012, which is slated to increase by 35.2% till 2020. Surge in the disposable income is expected to boost the demand for wellness tourism due to rise in the number of health-conscious people.
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The growing burden of chronic diseases is a prominent factor promoting the growth of the global wellness tourism market. The increase in urbanization fueled by rapid economic growth has led to unbalanced diets and sedentary lifestyle. This, in turn, has augmented the prevalence of lifestyle-associated diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
According to a study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME), a global health research organization, in 2013, approximately 30% of the global population is either overweight or obese. The rise in disposable incomes is raising expenditure on fast food or junk food, causing surge in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of individuals with diabetes worldwide increased to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980. The rate of prevalence of diabetes in people aged above 18 years has risen to 8.5% in 2014 from 4.7% in 1980. The WHO estimates that diabetes is projected to be the seventh leading cause of deaths worldwide by 2030.
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Additionally, people in countries such as the U.S., Brazil, and Mexico are increasingly resorting to wellness procedures such as beauty treatments, anti-aging treatments, weight loss programs, spa therapies, and yoga programs in order to boost their physical as well as mental well-being. The popularity of these programs coupled with the rise in stress levels is expected to propel the global wellness tourism market during the forecast period. On the other hand, shortage of facilities (for example, lack of adequate infrastructure and skilled and trained workers) in developing countries is expected to impede the market during the forecast period
The global wellness tourism market can be segmented based on service type and geography. In terms of service type, the market can be divided into beauty & anti-aging, health & nutrition, fitness & weight management, preventive & personalized medicine, complementary & alternative medicine, spa industry, workplace wellness, and others.
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Geographically, the global wellness tourism market can be segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominates the global wellness tourism market, due to high expenditure on wellness by consumers in the region. North America is followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. Rising disposable income of people in countries such as China, India, and Indonesia is propelling the wellness tourism market in Asia Pacific.
Prominent players operating in the global wellness tourism market are Four Seasons Hotels Limited, Hilton Worldwide, KPJ Healthcare Berhad, VLCC Health Care Limited, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and Marriott International, Inc.
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