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Global Wellness Institute: Health Tourism is Big Business in Travel

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SINGAPORE—According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a nonprofit organization for the wellness industry, the total expenditure from both international inbound and domestic tourists defined as primary and secondary wellness tourists was $563 billion in 2015, up from $489 billion in 2013. This figure is expected to grow by another 43 percent to $808 billion between 2015 and 2020. Wellness tourists made 691 million trips with a least some wellness feature, such as weight loss or healthy eating in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.

The GWI report also stated that the wellness economy will continue in an upward growth trajectory and is resilient to economic disruptions and geopolitical events.

Wellness has in fact grown to impact every aspect of travel, and more tourists are now demanding an element of wellness to be incorporated into their travels and holidays. Travel companies now specialize in curating and booking health and wellness retreats for clients.

One Example of a Wellness Travel Specialist

Om & Away, a new start-up based in Singapore, is one such travel company. It operates a portal connecting wellness tourists to 100 kinds of wellness and holistic travel experiences across 17 countries, and is in partnership with 21 travel providers.

Another wellness vacation start-up also based in Singapore, The Verdure Group, is launching at The Arma Museum and Resort located in Ubud, its flagship weight loss and detoxification program in Bali this June.

According to the GWI Report, from 2013 to 2015, the wellness economy grew by 10.6 percent, while the global economy shrank by -3.6 percent in United States dollar terms. The GWI report also said that Asia made the most gains in both the number of wellness trips and wellness tourism expenditures. Indonesia is one such Asian country that has registered an 18.7 percent average annual growth rate from 2013 to 2015. This level of growth no doubt augers well for the health and wellness industry in Indonesia, especially, in Ubud, known as the world’s home for yoga, healing and wellness.

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