Woman swimming in an infinity pool in a forest retreat

Why Travel is More Wellness-Focused and Intentional Than Ever Before

  • BY Kimberly Hawkins
  • March 26, 2024

A vacation used to give us carte blanche to ditch our diets for decadent foods and take a week off from our workouts. But travel experts say a lot has changed in the last few years and wellness tourism is in high demand, with good reason. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to focus on health and well-being and those concerns don’t take a break simply because we are out of town. Instead, it has changed the way we travel. 

According to the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness tourism is expected to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025 and is one of the industry’s fastest-growing sectors. 

According to Cal State East Bay Professor of Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Zach Hallab, wellness travel has expanded to meet the comprehensive mental and physical health needs of travelers. Some hotels and resorts are offering artificial-intelligence-empowered smart beds, forest bathing retreats and puppy yoga — all meant to emphasize preventing illness and prolonging life. Beyond this, Hallab says travelers are also interested in the safety of a region, its local laws and even a hotel’s proximity to healthcare providers. 

“This is a new generation of travelers,” said Hallab. “Those who have more disposable income and are more educated tend to want and be willing to invest in these healthy living components while on vacation, but really this is something we can all benefit from.”

Hallab says this trend is not going away. Hospitality, tourism and recreation businesses must leverage their wellness benefits to vy for travelers’ attention and money. He says this can be as simple as using Cancer Awareness Month to promote what a company is doing to prevent the disease.

With travelers proactively seeking out ways to stay healthy and safe, Hallab says places that embody this and develop a holistic wellness offering for its guests will be the ones to thrive, for it is the intersection between the traveler and the destination that will ultimately determine the experience.