Asia is Key to Future of Wellness Tourism
By Catherine Feliciano Chon
Thursday, 25th July 2019

It’s the first time since 2013 when The Global Wellness Summit was held in New Delhi, that it’s being hosted in Asia again, a sign of the region’s growing influence on tourism, the conference will put a powerful spotlight on Asia’s explosive wellness markets and the new leaders driving growth and innovation.

Asia holds the key to both the origins and future of wellness tourism. It is the birthplace of ancient healing philosophies like yoga, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine that continue to have a major influence on modern wellness practices today. Walk into any spa, retreat or integrative health resort anywhere in the world, you will inevitably find Asia’s influence.

But it is on the future of wellness tourism that Asia will have the most profound impact. As it stands today, the stats are overwhelming: Outbound Asia-Pacific travelers suddenly represent 37 percent of the world’s total (UNWTO) with international travel spending doubling in the last decade (APAC). Asia-Pacific is also the world’s fastest-growing inbound travel market (now ranking second only to Europe).

Consider China: Outbound trips grew 20-fold since 2000; the Chinese are the world’s biggest travel spenders ($258 billion annually, well ahead of the US at $135 billion); Chinese travelers will represent 30 percent of the entire international travel market by 2030; and China will become the world’s #1 travel destination by 2030, dethroning France.

Asia-Pacific is also, by far, the fastest-growing wellness tourism market: Wellness trips jumped 33 percent in the last two years (China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia all clocked 20+ percent annual gains)—and the market will essentially double from 2017–2022: from $137 billion to $252 billion.

“Every person in the wellness industry needs to grasp the enormous growth and change now underway across Asia, especially in China,” noted Susie Ellis, GWS chairman and CEO.

“Asia’s millennia-old wellness traditions have practically defined the world market, but a ‘new Asia’ will also transform everything from travel and technology, food and fashion, beauty and design. The future of wellness is a whole new chapter—a new cross-pollination—between East and West, ancient and modern.

The next Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the foremost gathering of international leaders in the $4.2 trillion global wellness economy, will be held in Hong Kong, October 15-17.


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