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Wellness is a top priority for travellers this year

cancer menopause oncology touch treatments travel wellness Mar 30, 2022

At the start of the year the trend reports were rolled out, and amongst them was an interesting feature for those of us in the spa industry - wellness is overtaking travel.

The rise and rise of wellness tourism

Predictions have been that travel will come back bigger in 2022 than in pre-pandemic years. We probably didn’t need a survey to tell us that - we have all been itching to go on holiday after two years of lockdowns. However, enjoying tangible evidence as we do, so far that prediction has held true - in February The Guardian reported that UK summer holiday bookings were up a fifth on pre-Covid levels. 

Those trends also showed that wellness was set to overtake travel as a consumer priority - in that the two are being considered hand in hand with one another. The hypothesis is that we all spent lockdown reflecting on our values and our behaviours and now we’re ready to act on the results - cue the rise and rise of wellness tourism.

As the Global Wellness Summit put it:

"If last year, our trend “The Year of the Travel Reset” argued that the future is travelling slower and more mindfully, embracing regenerative travel, challenging over tourism and correcting under tourism, embracing nature, and putting purpose first…2022 looks to be the year that it moves from ideals to reality.”

In numbers, a report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) showed that the travel market shrank -39.5% to $436 billion in 2020. However, with the wellness sector in tow, it’s predicted to grow at record rate between now and 2025, expanding 21% each year to reach $1.1 trillion. In particular, the spa and thermal/mineral springs markets are expected to see the biggest annual growth through 2025 at 17% and 15%, respectively.

Top areas of consumer interest

Looking at a variety of studies, in broad terms the key areas of consumer interest when it comes to wellness travel hinge on holistic self-care, sustainability and stress relief.

Self-care as essential:

It’s wonderful to hear that people are seeking self-care on a more regular basis as well as incorporating it into all aspects of holidays from the food to the activities. This is a good opportunity to reflect on spa offerings and reflect wellness at all the different touch points of a guest experience.

Stress relief:

It will come as no surprise that stress is a huge factor for a lot of people embracing wellness tourism and more wellness activities. Of course, as therapists this is something that comes into our work for lots of reasons and lot of the time and we have an important and meaningful role in supporting individuals when it comes to stress management. Research has shown that even a 10-minute head-and-neck massage is effective in boosting the body’s physiological relaxation mechanisms.


Another intrinsic part of wellness tourism is the emphasis on environmental wellbeing and sustainability. Spa goers are actively seeking to minimise the environmental impact of their wellness activities, and over the last couple of years many spas have responded in kind with more effective water usage, environmentally friendly products, reducing or eliminating plastic waste - especially in the form of plastic water bottles or cups, and more effective use of energy through the addition of things like solar panels and biomass boilers.

Spa businesses and wellness travel

As therapists, we know that wellness is important. We also know that it spans a wealth of different things from everyday rituals and habits to luxury experiences. In a ‘post’ pandemic world wellness and travel are coming together like never before, providing opportunities for spa businesses to really show the value of what they have to offer.

In many respects these trends are not a surprise. We have known that consumer values have evolved in recent years, placing greater emphasis on mental health, environmental sustainability and a holistic approach to wellbeing. We know that our personal health is linked to the wellbeing of the world around us, and spa businesses and the wellness industry have been making great efforts to review their practices with environmental health and a more personalised approach to health and wellbeing placed front and centre.

Nonetheless, such knowledge does help us all to ensure our offering and our messaging is aligned with customer values, supporting our businesses as well as our clients to get the best from their wellbeing experiences, whether it’s part of a holiday or a regular spa treatment.

At Jennifer Young Training School our focus is on providing therapist training that enables spas to treat all clients, including those who are vulnerable. In particular, our oncology touch treatments empower therapists with the knowledge and skill to treat cancer patients. We have also recently launched our Hormonal Wellness Mentor and Coaching diploma, which will be available from 31st March, to support therapists when treating women at different stages of the menopause. If you would like to find out more about our courses, visit the Courses Guide on the link below.


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