Wellness Tourism: The Rise Of Resorts Focused On Health and Relaxation

Being healthy and practicing wellness in our lives isn’t enough for most people — most people travel to seek well-being. If you want to improve your physical and mental health and well-being, and even your quality of life.

What is Wellness?

The concept of “wellness” is holistic. Many scholars define wellness as a state where one experiences “harmony in mental, physical, spiritual, or biological health in general through healthy and enriching activities.”

According to research, there are five main conceptualizations of wellness: wellness as a state of being or outcome, as a process, as an approach to professional care, as a matter of community, and as a global topic. Due to the rapid economic growth witnessed lately, which has led to intense societal pressures and competition, there has been a rise in involution and a faster pace of life. Consequently, a significant number of individuals are experiencing burnout, resulting in an increase in subhealth traits. Burnout manifests itself in three main dimensions: physical well-being, mental state, and interpersonal interactions.

To relieve the experience of burnout, most people would travel anywhere. Travel helps get out of work and experience new things. Joining leisure activities improves one’s well-being.

Wellness retreats

What is Wellness Tourism?

Wellness tourism has become a hot trend in travel, and it’s easy to see why. It’s all about taking care of yourself and enhancing your overall well-being while exploring new places. Whether you want to unwind, get fit, or find inner peace, wellness tourism offers a wide range of experiences to suit your needs.

Let’s clarify the difference between “wellness” and “well-being.” While they are often used interchangeably, they do have slight distinctions. Wellness goes beyond simply avoiding illness and focuses on adopting a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, well-being encompasses a broader sense of contentment, satisfaction, and functioning well in various aspects of life, including your career, social life, finances, and more. Both are crucial for your personal and public health.

Wellness tourism comes in different forms, catering to diverse preferences. Some people plan entire trips solely dedicated to wellness. Imagine indulging in a rejuvenating yoga retreat amidst the serene mountains, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

For those seeking a deeper connection with themselves and the world, immersion-based wellness travel offers incredible opportunities. You can embark on a spiritual pilgrimage, dive into an intensive yoga training program, explore holistic education centers like the Esalen Institute, or experience the serenity of a silent meditation retreat. There are even indigenous-informed plant medicine retreats that offer unique perspectives on healing and self-discovery.

The best part is that wellness tourism is on the rise. The market is currently valued at a staggering $451 billion and is projected to reach $1.02 trillion by 2030, according to experts. This remarkable growth demonstrates the increasing importance people place on self-care and well-being when they travel.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Tourism and Wellness Tourism?

Medical tourism involves traveling to another country to receive treatment for a medical condition. It has become a popular option for many people, especially because medical procedures in the United States and Europe can be quite expensive. In developing countries, individuals often find that they can receive high-quality care at much lower costs. Additionally, post-operative care in developed countries may not be given much attention and can be mediocre.

In wellness tourism, more and more people are traveling to different destinations for their vacations. However, traditional sightseeing or lounging by the beach is no longer enough for many travelers. They want to take their personal health and well-being to the next level. They are seeking unique and authentic therapies or experiences that may not be readily available in their home countries. These experiences can range from spa treatments to various wellness programs like yoga, meditation, acupressure, cycling, and more. This growing demand for wellness experiences is evident in the increasing number of spas being incorporated into hotels worldwide.

What is Wellness Tourism

Travelers are now choosing destinations that not only offer them a chance to relax and unwind but also provide health benefits through spa facilities and other wellness programs. However, these facilities can often be expensive and lackluster in many developed countries, similar to other service-related industries.

It’s important to note that while medical tourism has a more serious and regulated structure, wellness tourism operates in a more flexible and guest-centric manner. The medical world relies on terms like doctors and patients and follows an authoritative structure. In contrast, wellness tourism is more location-based and has a generic approach. Interestingly, it has been observed that individuals who travel to a particular country for wellness experiences are more likely to choose the same country for medical procedures as well.

How Does Wellness Tourism Work?

According to Jeanette Lorandini, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Suffolk DBT, wellness tourism allows people to take a break from their regular lives and focus solely on their well-being. It provides a chance to de-stress and relax without the usual distractions and responsibilities.

One of the benefits of wellness tourism is that they offer an environment where you can be more open to change. When you’re away from your everyday routine, you have the freedom to experiment with new behaviors and focus on neglected aspects of your life. This can lead to the creation of healthy habits such as improving sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly, which you can continue even after returning home. In fact, a small observational study conducted in Australia found that weeklong retreat experiences resulted in significant improvements in various dimensions of health and well-being, which lasted for six weeks after the retreat.

Additionally, wellness trips often provide access to services that positively impact both your mental and physical health. From massage therapy and yoga classes to nutrition consultations, these experiences can leave you feeling rejuvenated and better equipped to handle the stressors of daily life.

While some people plan their own wellness travel experiences, it’s also possible to hire a travel advisor who specializes in health and wellness tourism. They can help you find high-quality options and take care of the details if you’re short on time or need assistance.

What to Look for in Health and Wellness Tourism Destinations?

Now that you have decided to take a break and want to try health and wellness tourism, here are some tips you wellness tourists need to look for in a wellness tourism destination:

Safe and Secure Environment

Select the health and wellness tourism destination situated in a secure and safe environment that adheres to strict safety protocols.

Stringent Sanitary Measures

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a heightened focus on health and hygiene. People are now more cautious, particularly in public spaces. Choose a destination that implements comprehensive hygiene and sanitation procedures aimed at safeguarding the well-being of its guests.

What's the Difference Between Medical Tourism and Wellness Tourism

Qualified Wellness Professionals

When embarking on a wellness tourism journey that involves therapeutic treatments and activities, it is vital to ensure the presence of knowledgeable and skilled wellness professionals. They play a crucial role in providing holistic benefits and ensuring that you make the most of your stay.


A serene and peaceful environment contributes significantly to the success of your wellness retreat. It fosters relaxation and reduces stress. Avoid crowded and bustling locations, and consider the accessibility of the destination, as it can help free your mind and relax your body even after leaving the health and wellness tourism site.

Wellness Activities

An ideal wellness tourism destination should offer a range of activities that promote physical and mental well-being. Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay provides laughter and dance yoga, Tai Qi Gong exercises, Ecotherapy, massage therapy, and various other wellness activities that contribute to the conditioning of the mind and body.

Support for the Local Community

Wellness tourism can have a positive impact not only on travelers but also on the local community. Choose a wellness resort that prioritizes the welfare of the community by supporting locally sourced produce and services.

Commitment to Sustainability

Advocacy for environmental protection is crucial. A reputable wellness tourism destination should have established sustainability policies and practices in place to promote responsible travel, protect the environment, and contribute to a sustainable future.

Healthy and Nourishing Food Choices

Food plays a significant role in promoting the holistic well-being of the mind and body. Making mindful and nutritious food choices is essential, as poor dietary habits can contribute to stress and depression. Ensure that your wellness retreat includes a variety of healthy and fresh food options.

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