ABTA: The rise of wellness tourism

Research from ABTA – The Travel Association reveals that people are increasingly incorporating wellness into their holiday, with one in three (34%) people planning to take part in activities focussed on improving their wellbeing such as yoga, meditation, spa and holistic treatments or taking time away from tech.

Holidaymakers plan to spend almost four and a half hours each day (269 minutes) on average doing a combination of wellness activities – with the most time being spent avoiding technology such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. People will spend nearly two hours a day (108 minutes) on average, and a further quarter (24%) more than four hours a day (240 minutes or more), making a conscious effort to keep away from their gadgets.

Whilst holidaymakers are keen to avoid too much time spent on their devices, the popularity of wearable technology, which many people use to track their health and fitness activity, shows no sign of slowing down. One in ten (12%) people take an exercise tracker, such as a Fitbit, away with them, rising to one in five (20%) people in the North East.

Physical fitness is most important for holidaymakers who want to focus on wellness, two-thirds (67%) of people plan to do activities such as yoga, pilates and nature hikes – with more than one in ten (14%) planning to spend over four hours a day on them.

The next most popular wellness activities on the list are spa treatments (42%) and meditation/silent time (39%). Just over one in ten (14%) plan to try holistic therapies such as Reiki and chakra balancing. The main reason why people are planning to take part in wellness activities is to relax and unwind (60%), with young holidaymakers being the most likely to prioritise mental wellbeing (46% vs 35% average).

“Now is a good time to explore your options”

More people than ever are seeking ways to alleviate stress and boost wellbeing, and over two million UK holidaymakers are planning to take a wellness trip in the next 12 months. Trips are also up 20% globally since 2015, with most wellness holidays are taken in Europe and destinations such as Germany, France, Austria and Greece increasingly investing in this area.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s director of brand and business development, said: “Travel companies are increasingly catering to people who want to focus on their wellbeing when away – whether it’s incorporating it into their holiday or taking a dedicated wellness trip. From adventure to youth to cruise brands, we have a wide range of ABTA Members who can ensure holidaymakers get exactly what they want from their trip, such as offering accommodation that has specific facilities or comprehensive wellbeing programmes.

“With the start of a new year, many people turn their attention to holidays for the year ahead. It’s a great time to book as there is an abundance of deals and offers available, and an endless amount of choice too, so booking early helps you get the best value for money for the holiday of your choice. For those looking to get away, whether it’s to focus on physical or mental wellbeing, visit a popular destination or to try something new – now is a good time to explore your options.”

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