“In our stressed world, wellness tourism is, says Lonely Planet, the industry’s fastest growing sector with a 10% rise [in 2018] making it a plus $500bn market” (The Yucatan Times, 2018). According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness economy was a $4.5 trillion market in 2018, while in 2017 travellers made 830 million international and domestic wellness trips, representing 17 percent of all tourism expenditures.
There are inherent difficulties, however, in defining what wellbeing tourism actually is and what it encompasses – it is apparent that ‘wellness’ and wellbeing’ are often used interchangeably. The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing”, but that may not paint a complete picture. The UK-based Coastal Tourism Academy suggests that wellness tourists can be segmented into those for whom wellbeing is their primary motivation and those who simply “seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle while taking any type of trip”.
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