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Wellness labelled major global travel trend by American Express Travel report

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Wellness is a key driving force behind global traveller behaviour, according to a new consumer insights report published by American Express Travel.

The American Express 2023 Global Travel Trends Report was conducted to expose the key factors influencing global travel and how they will affect it in future. Its findings are the result of an online survey launched during February 2023 by Morning Consult.

Respondents were drawn from a sample of 1,000 travellers from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, UK and 2,000 travellers from the US. All had a household income of at least US$70,000 (€63,100, £54,500) and typically travel by air at least once a year.

The report's findings suggest that wellness tourism is on track to continue its strong growth trajectory and maintain its status as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the US$4.4tr (€3.92tr, £3.29tr) wellness economy.

According to the latest research by the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness tourism sector is worth US$436bn (€389bn, £326bn).

Popular activities

The paper indicates spa and wellness amenities are a growing priority for travellers, with 43 per cent of respondents saying they had selected a hotel/accommodation based on its wellbeing facilities.

Results also showed that booking a massage or facial was one of the top three activities guests were planning during their travels (33 per cent). Exploring hiking/beach trails (39 per cent) was voted the top priority, followed by visiting a private beach (34 per cent).

Meanwhile, 82 per cent of respondents considered walking their favourite activity for staying healthy while travelling.

Trend watch: mental resets and natureThe report exposed a shift in consumers' mindset regarding motivation for and must-haves in wellness travel.

Findings showed that nature continues to be an important selling point, with 68 per cent of people seeking travel locations surrounded by nature so they can focus on mental clarity. The same amount of respondents also agreed they were looking to travel so they could surround themselves with nature to focus on mental clarity (68 per cent).

Mental health also stood out as a key motivator behind travel. More than two-thirds of participants (75 per cent) stated that they were planning to decrease screen time while travelling to better their mental health.

A further 73 per cent of respondents were planning vacations to better their mental, physical and emotional health in 2023.

American Express Travel also found that 81 per cent of respondents looked forward to unplugging while on vacation to live in the moment.

Respondents’ top three motivators to travel in 2023 were:

• To gain new experiences (60 per cent).• Escape from their normal routine (57 per cent).

• Spend time with people (45 per cent).

SpendEight-eight per cent of respondents said they planned to spend the same or more on wellness breaks this year, compared to previous years.

Generation game

Another key finding was that Gen Z and Millennial travellers are fast turning into a key customer base for the wellness travel market.

Results showed 61 per cent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents were prioritising travel plans that focus on personal wellness in 2023 – compared to 48 per cent of participants overall.

In addition, a further 60 per cent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents said they would go out of their way to book hotels that offer spa and wellness services.

To check out additional insights, head to the full report here.

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Wellness is a key driving force behind global traveller behaviour, according to a new consumer insights report published by American Express Travel.
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