Why are wellness retreats becoming more popular?

The Wellness Creative Co shared that the global wellness market is valued at over $5.3 trillion in 2023. The word wellness is a buzzword that has been growing in importance. It is a term that impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s our diet, our sleep, how we move, our relationships, daily routines or jobs, seeking wellness is a priority for many. According to an article shared by the BBC in 2020, ‘globally, an increasing number of people are incorporating elements of health, self-actualisation, experience, prevention and mindfulness into their daily lives’.

One area of our lives that is being directly impacted is our choice for taking a break or holiday through the form of a wellness retreat. The momentum of the wellness retreat and tourism industry is growing at a rate that is almost double the rate of the tourism industry. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness retreats are expected to grow an average of 21% annually through 2025. ABTA shared a report stating that wellness tourism is worth an estimated $639 billion (£491bn) globally. Such figures illustrate an increasing number of people who are seeking mindful ways to disconnect and relax when it comes to taking a holiday.

This increase in the number of people looking to take care of themselves has largely been a consequence of the Covid19 pandemic, whereby people understood the fragility of their physical health. At the same time, people were subjected to mental health challenges and needed to develop strategies to take care of their emotional wellbeing. Prior to the pandemic, people have been living fast paced lifestyles. Science of People shared findings stating that 47% of Gen Z and 53% of millennials were already burned out before 2020. These figures jumped after the pandemic. As a consequence, people needed to cure their burnout by turning to wellness on a holistic level, thus fueling the rise of wellness retreats.

Whilst holidays sitting by the poolside in the past helped people to escape and unwind, The Chelsea Psychology Clinic shared in an article with Grazia that this no longer resonates with people as ‘problems inevitably return when people get back to everyday life’. Wellness retreats however give people the tools to relax both their body and minds and take these learnings back home with them to carry on doing afterwards.

Not only do people opt for wellness retreats as a way of taking care of themselves, they are also invested in the science behind their proliferation. The U.S’s National Library of Medicine published a journal in 2017 asking the following question: Do Wellness Tourists Get Well? An Observational Study of Multiple Dimensions of Health and Well-Being After a Week-Long Retreat. Published by Marc M. Cohen, MBBS(Hons), PhD et al, the findings concluded that following the experience of a week-long wellness retreat, ‘statistically significant improvements were seen in almost all measures’. The success of wellness retreats can be attributed to the fact that people tend to leave feeling significantly better than when they arrived.

Additionally, many wellness retreats consider the role of sustainability as they empathise a holistic approach to wellbeing which includes the environment. This can include sourcing local grown food, opting for eco-accommodation and contemplating the impact of carbon footprint when it comes to transportation.

To conclude, wellness retreats are growing in popularity as people are becoming more invested in taking care of themselves, seeking out tools and education in order to do so. Wellness is something we explore as a team at Vorto and enjoy sharing our learnings to help each other grow both professionally and personally.