Asia is the world's fastest-growing wellness tourism region

Asia is the fastest-growing wellness tourism destination in the world, according to new research from Spafinder Wellness.

The State of Wellness Travel report, which surveys consumer attitudes towards wellness travel through feedback from travel agents across Europe and North America, found that Thailand, Indonesia and India were the nations most quickly gaining ground as wellness holiday destinations.

The vast majority of travel agents report a growing awareness of wellness travel in the last year. 80% state that they have noticed an increased awareness within the hospitality industry, with 78% saying the same is true of the tourism industry, 77% of travel agents specifically and 71% of consumers.

Anticipating a positive outlook for wellness travel, 86% of travel agents say they expect to see a year-on-year growth for the segment by the end of 2015 – compared to last year. 14% said they anticipate the sector will remain on the same level as last year.

John Bevan, chief operating officer of Spafinder Wellness, said: "Growth in wellness travel is outpacing traditional travel as people recognise the importance of healthier options. The hospitality and travel industries need to pay attention to the fact that this is a travel sector that will continue to grow and cannot be ignored.”

Of 16 wellness component pinpointed by Spafinder Wellness, all ranked as “important”. These include healthy cuisine, fitness facilities and classes, hot or mineral springs, weight loss programmes, alternative medicine services, traditional medicine services, detox programmes and healthy sleep programmes.

An overwhelming majority of travel agents, 83%, said consumers are willing to pay extra for wellness travel, and for access to health related products and services while on holiday.

The increased interest in wellness it not restricted to the leisure market, however. 79% of travel agents reported an increased demand for healthy cuisine and access to fitness and spa services in relation to business meetings and events.

Mia Kyricos, chief brand officer of Spafinder Wellness, said: “It is clear that health-conscious consumers are becoming more sophisticated about their wellness-related needs while traveling.

“Today, wellness travel reaches far beyond traditional spa experiences, and the survey reveals a savvy new traveller, one that demands a wide range of healthier experiences, from check in to check out.” 

The top five brands consumers most immediately associate with wellness travel are Canyon Ranch, the Starwood Hotel group, the Four Seasons, Hyatt hotels and Six Senses.

Image: Starwood Hotels and Resorts