Health and Wellness Trends to Watch in 2019 & Beyond

Right now, the global wellness tourism industry is booming with a record number of people taking the time to administer some much-needed self-care. We are all becoming increasingly interested in improving our health and maintaining a well-balanced, active lifestyle. From eating healthier foods to exercising more and expanding our awareness of the connection between mind, body, and soul, health and wellness are major priorities in 2019.

As proof of this, the wellness tourism sector is expected to reach close to $1 trillion U.S. on a global level by the year 2020, according to the Global Wellness Institute. A number of wellness travel trends including preventive care, mental health retreats, nature immersion adventures programs featuring holistic remedies and, of course, spa vacations, have seen a noticeable resurgence in recent years. And these trends certainly aren’t showing any signs of disappearing any time soon.

Here are just some of the many health and wellness travel trends we know will become increasingly more popular this year and into the next decade.

Preventive Wellness

Our daily habits—both good and bad—define and contribute to our overall health. How we treat our bodies and mind matters and this also dictates what we get out of them (strength, stamina, mental focus, and clarity). Most of us tend to take the easy way out by making excuses for our poor health. We’re too busy, too tired, our jobs force us to be sedentary, etc. Rather than taking responsibility for our own well-being, we point the finger at external factors such as working in an office job or having to look after the kids, and pay the bills. In this day and age, however, making healthy choices has never been easier and it doesn’t have to be anything major. Preventive wellness retreats teach us how to make small changes within our everyday routine so that we can make healthy choices and ward off potential health risks that are associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.

Nature Wellness Getaways

What could be more relaxing or nourishing to an overall sense of well-being than simply immersing oneself in nature? Being outdoors and “one with nature” has been proven to help improve people’s overall mental and physical health. The way we look on the outside is often a reflection of how we feel on the inside. Not only does how we feel affect our mood, but it can also negatively impact the ability to concentrate on even the simplest tasks. Participating in a ” nature retreat” for a few days or weeks is a great way to help get one’s mind off of the stresses and trepidations of everyday life. Also, science continues to expound the benefits of biophilia!

Grief Wellness Retreats

No matter what anyone tells us, there’s no universal form of grieving. Everyone grieves in different ways and in their own time. Contrary to what one might think, grief doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by the death of a loved one—although, that’s the most common reason people grieve. Grief can also be caused by powerful emotions and experiences such as the end of an important relationship, feeling as if you’ve lost your sense of identity, or closing one chapter of life to embark on a new one. The programs and communities formed in grief wellness retreats are designed to put one in contact with people facing similar experiences and create a support system to help participants endure whatever it is they are going through.

Mental Health Retreats

Despite the fact that mental health has been at the forefront of many people’s consciousness and discussions surrounding mental health issues have become more prominent in recent years, the stigma still exists. People have a difficult time reaching out for help when it comes to dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety because these are still somewhat considered taboo subjects. Social constructs certainly add insult to injury in this sense as people are still discouraged from talking about these issues. Mental health retreats provide a safe, open, and non-judgmental space for people to speak freely about everything they’re experiencing. They also give a person the opportunity to slow down, breathe, and speak to mental health professionals as well as likeminded individuals who are enduring experiences that are similar to yours. There’s no shame in asking for help whenever you need it. Plus, an increasing number of programs—not specifically focused on mental health—are offering meditation and mindfulness components. And, in a recent poll of members of the Wellness Tourism Association, we learned that mindfulness and meditation components are increasing important to their guests.

Digital Detox

You’ve heard of regular detox retreats that help participants find ways of releasing harmful toxins from the body by eating healthfully and exercising. A Digital Detox is similar to that, except the focus is shifted toward limiting or completely eliminating your dependence and usage of technological devices for a given period of time. Cellphones, laptops, and tablets have become such an important staple in our daily interactions to the extent that they’ve almost replaced real human connections. These addictive technological devices have made many of us oblivious to the real world around us and from time to time, we need to disconnect from the online world and reacquaint ourselves with the real world. Digital detox retreats can help us do that in a mindful manner to help pave the way to lessening the anxiety associated with digital devices and building stronger interpersonal connections with people.

A Rise in Solo Travelers and Newcomers

Statistics show there’s been a rise in two new emerging trends in the realm of wellness travel. The number of solo travelers and newcomers (first time wellness travelers) has increased dramatically in the past few years. The results of the Wellness Tourism Association’s recent Wellness Vacation survey show that close to 42% of respondents reported a preference for “solo travel” or “solo to meet up with the like-minded.”

This increase is not surprising considering the pronounced focus people are beginning to place on their own mental and physical health and well-being which, by its very nature, tends to be a solo pursuit.   Are YOU seeing any new trends in the industry? Contact our editor Anne Dimon at