Traveling No Longer Means Abandoning Healthy Habits
While worldwide, America is still well known for obesity, fast food, and an overall lack of concern for health, the amount of Americans concerned about health and wellness and considering health and wellness in their purchases and activities is increasing. From 2006-2013 the percentage of Americans who consider ingredients or nutritional facts in their food purchases increased 13% and 9% respectively. Companies attaching to this health and wellness trend are popping up rapidly; from every type of yoga one could think of to spas, to green juices, healthy trends are popular in America. In fact, health and wellness are so popular right now in America and worldwide that there is a sector in the hospitality industry dedicated to health and wellness known as wellness tourism.
What is wellness tourism?
In the past when people traveled, often they abandon any healthy habits they have while at home such as regularly going to the gym, maintaining a sleep schedule, and eating healthily. A worldwide trend, now referred to as “wellness tourism”, involves travelling either with the intention to improve health and wellness or to maintain health and wellness while traveling. Traveling for medical treatment is not the same as wellness tourism, wellness tourism is for overall health and wellness no for better treatment of medical conditions. The hospitality industry has picked up on this trend and hotels and resorts everywhere are updating in order to accommodate the health and wellness desires for guests. This does not mean simply having a gym available for guest use, it involves going steps further in order to provide the health and wellness resources that guests desire. Traveling solely for the purpose of health and wellness is not extremely common but it is not unheard of and it is growing in popularity, which is why spa destinations and wellness resorts are becoming more popular. 89% of wellness tourists are not primarily traveling for health and wellness but actually traveling for business or leisure with the intent to participate in activities and behavior that maintain their health or wellness while travelling.
All sectors of the hospitality and restaurant industries can take advantage of the popularity of health and wellness and become a destination for those traveling that prioritize. Some common desires of health and wellness tourists that hotels are increasingly providing include:
● 24/7 access to hotel gym and pool
● Workout clothes or additional equipment
● Healthy (including vegan and/or gluten free) food options
● No smoking on the entire premises
● Room conditions that promote healthy sleep
Some hotels that include amenities for travelers looking to prioritize health and wellness while on their trips include:
● Four Seasons
● Tryp by Wyndham
● Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
● Even Hotels
● Westin Hotels and Resorts
The health and wellness perks that these chains offer, included in the price of the hotel or for a small amount more, include access to workout equipment and/ or clothes in the guest rooms, yoga and other fitness classes, and complimentary bike rentals.
Wellness tourism is a worldwide trend, the most popular destination for wellness tourists is Europe however America has the highest expenditure on wellness tourism. Most wellness tourists travel domestically however international wellness tourism, currently at only at 17% of all wellness tourism, is a growing market. Wellness tourism is a huge opportunity for hotels and other businesses that cater to travellers, wellness tourists spend significantly more than those traveling without a focus on health and wellness, especially in the domestic tourism sector where wellness tourists spend 178% more than normal tourists. Wellness tourism is only going to grow as the trends towards health and wellness in the U.S. and worldwide continue. This shift towards healthier lifestyles provides huge opportunities for the hospitality industry and could change the food, activity, and behavior choices of people traveling worldwide.
 “Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective.” Nielsen, 14 Aug. 2014, https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2014/health-and-wellness-in-america-the-consumer-perspective/.
 “Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report.” Global Wellness Institute, https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/industry-research/global-wellness-tourism-economy/.
 Skopec, Christine. “8 Hotels Offering Some of the Best Fitness Options Ever.” Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 20 Sept. 2018, https://www.cheatsheet.com/life/8-hotels-offering-some-of-the-best-fitness-options-ever.html/.