News & Insights

The rise and rise of wellness tourism

Published 18 October 2019

Mumcations, painmoons and personal transformation sagas: wellness tourism is rapidly overtaking traditional travel and manifesting in a variety of forms aimed at helping the traveller to be their best self.

It’s the fastest growing sector in travel, jumping 10% in 2017, accounting for 1 in every 6 travel dollars spent and projected by the Global Wellness Institute to reach $919 billion in value by 2022. Why so fast moving? Follow the money: wellness travellers on average spend 53% per trip more than typical international tourists.

Although the trend is primarily driven by North America, Germany, France, China and Japan, SE Asia and India have driven growth in the past couple of years. The wellness tourists’ preferred destinations: developing countries and the Asia Pacific – where these types of trips have increased by 33% over 2017–2018.


Gallagher tourism and hospitality specialist Leanne Arscott says that this is evidenced in the scope of insurance cover that clients want.

“We have been experiencing an increase in enquires from tour operators who are looking to provide unique and tailored experiences for individuals or groups with common and specific interests such as fitness activities incorporating wellness and extraordinary food destinations,” she says. 

Contrary to popular preconceptions this burgeoning segment is not mainly made up of women – in recent years the number of men aged 50 to 70 booking wellness holidays has increased, joining the growing movement towards promoting positive lifestyle changes, mentally and physically.

And this may not be the primary focus of their trip; most wellness travellers – in 89% of bookings and 86% of expenditure – include the experience as part of a broader recreational or business trip. In many cases these are planned to enable participation in a ‘bucket list’ activity.

Local leader

In Australia, which also offers a plethora of retreats, spas and immersive destinations, Queensland is the leader of world-class endurance challenges. A Tourism and Events Queensland survey of 3695 participants in these events in 2017 found 69% also used the trip to holiday in the state.

“We know events are important drivers of visitation to Queensland,” Acting Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Shannon Fentiman says. “Last year our event portfolio was worth $600 million and this year it’s tipped to be worth around $780 million.”

Range of risk

With transformative wellness experiences tipped to be the buzz in 2019, whether they are offered as a complete package or through optional activities, event organisers and venue operators need to ensure their insurance covers their guests for the risk exposures involved.

“There is an increasing variety of events, festivals and exhibitions being provided across Queensland and nationally that focus on health, body and spirit,” Arscott says. “With any event the risk exposures for the organisers are loss of profits and recovery of expenses, should the event be cancelled or disrupted due to adverse weather perils, terrorism acts, key speaker non-appearance, communicable disease outbreak or prevention of access to the venue. Other exposures include personal injury or property damage for persons attending the event,” she says.

“Gallagher has developed a unique Tourism and Recreation Insurance Policy (TRIP) that provides public liability cover for inbound and outbound tour operators. The scope of activities covered by TRIP are extensive, enabling our Gallagher tourism and hospitality brokers to easily arrange comprehensive insurance cover for operators providing wellness, fitness and lifestyle group tours.” 

How we can help

Gallagher’s specialists can help tourism and hospitality businesses identify their operational exposures, advise on formulating a risk management plan and structure insurance cover to protect themselves against the fall-out from a customer data breach.

See this overview of what we offer our clients.

Click on the link for more information about our tourism and hospitality expertise.

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Further reading

Hospitality and tourism insurance

What makes the tourism industry vulnerable to damages claims?

To the extent that any material in this document may be considered advice, it does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and review any relevant Product Disclosure Statement and policy wording before taking out an insurance policy.


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