When the global pandemic that started unfolding in 2020 shifted all of our lives dramatically, it fueled a wellness crisis—physical, mental and spiritual—in addition to putting the brakes on travel and resulting tourism revenue.
But within these challenges hid a valuable opportunity to realign our priorities and make the mind-body-and-soul wellness, and that of guests and visitors, our ultimate mission moving forward.
Already tapped into this lucrative market? Stay the course. If not, the time remains really right, massive growth already beginning. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) projects that after the 2017-2019 boom and then bust of -39.5% in 2020, wellness tourism will multiply an impressive 21% annually through 2025, reflecting “new traveler values (a quest for nature, sustainability in travel, mental wellness) as well as a period of rapid recovery from pent-up demand in 2021 and 2022.”
Prediction: This is the year of making every trip meaningful.
First, let’s note that wellness itself is one of the key travel trends for 2022. While wellness tourism previously comprised a niche market, it became the fastest-growing segment within the global tourism market and, increasingly, the primary motivation for travel.
Likewise, traveling is the foremost way people will engage in self-care this year. Recent Booking.com research of travelers worldwide revealed 74% “affirming that travel helps their mental and emotional well-being more than other forms of rest and relaxation” and 66% saying they “didn’t realize how important travel was to their well-being until it was no longer an option.” Additionally, 84% noted that just having a vacation planned makes a positive impact on their emotional well-being.
And in late 2021, surveys conducted by American Express further showed that 68% of global travelers are planning their next trip with their mental well-being in mind. Across the United States, 58% of those surveyed say that, over the past year, they saved up more money for travel. Plus, 55% are planning on taking up to three trips in 2022!
From wake-up call to wandermust movement…
What does this all mean? Your clientele now realizes that vacations, even quick daytrips, are vital to wellness. People of all ages need an escape from the everyday, from the daily grind, from routines and longer, stressful workdays and schooldays, and lots of time spent staying at home. So, the getaway alone—and simply the thought of it—can be a cure for at least some of what ails us.
Dana recently adopted the terms “wandermust” and “revenge travel” to describe the pent-up demand to unplug, get back out there and travel following a period of inability to do so. There’s a mindset of wanting to make up for lost time, to no longer take vacations for granted, and “I want to do these things now, while I have the chance, and because now I can.”
Our team’s conversations continue to be infused by these buzzwords, especially as restrictions loosen in places, tourists become vaccinated and boosted, and budgets grow.
Keep an eye on these trends—and capitalize on them!
As in 2021, your audience still desires life-enhancing getaways and mindful travel that reflects their true values. At the forefront: destinations where travelers can de-stress, relax, recharge, heal, get fit, indulge and be rewarded.
Here are some of the top 2022 wellness tourism trends, in which we’re seeing US travelers:
- Actively seeking out domestic destinations closer to home, where they feel safer.
- Asking for planned-out itineraries, especially theme parks and all-inclusive, risk-free trips and cruises, plus flexible cancelation policies.
- Booking more multigenerational trips and sabbatical trips than ever before, a sign of the move toward purpose- and passion-first pursuits such as family reunions and heritage trips.
- Embracing nature and its healing power in outdoor spaces, as well as a focus on sustainable and responsible travel.
- Engaging in philantourism, a mix of “philanthropy” and “tourism.” Involving less commitment than voluntourism, these trips only require selecting a destination that needs tourism revenue. Once there, visitors only have to buy local in support of its tourism economy and residents, while enjoying its culture and history.
- Preferring slow travel possibilities that provide ample time to unwind and reflect, including a revival of road trips and rail/train travel.
- Favoring physical activity and human-powered travel (think hiking and cycling) that enable them to improve their health and maintain better control over their own pace and companions.
- Digging into culinary travel, as they want to eat well and celebrate their destination’s local cuisine. They crave tailored experiences such as hands-on cooking classes, private chefs, bespoke menus, street food, regional specialties and straight-from-the-source fare (from fishing excursions to vineyard tours and sampling).
- Savoring spa treatments—after a -39% loss in 2020, the GWI expects this high-touch industry to grow 17% annually through 2025, more than doubling revenues to $150.5 billion.
Bottom line: Minimal investment in enhancing or communicating your wellness offerings promises healthy returns!
Let’s connect, so that you, too, can benefit from the opportunities that abound. Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.466.9187, ext. 117.