New GWI Research: Surprising Relationship between Wellness Tourism and Spa Spending and Health Outcomes
The GWI’s new report, “Health, Happiness, and the Wellness Economy: An Empirical Analysis,” is the first global study of how spending on wellness (at both the national and sector level) impacts happiness and health outcomes. A collaboration with a key author and statistician of the World Happiness Report, the study finds that, overall, wellness spending is indeed associated with greater happiness and longevity. And importantly, this isn’t just a case of “the wealthy well,” since the report controlled for factors such as GDP/income, population size and more.
The report reveals which individual wellness sectors have the strongest correlation with improved health and happiness measures. Key finding: Workplace wellness, wellness tourism and spas have the strongest relationship with all five health outcomes (including life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and reduced risk of premature death from non-communicable diseases). Thermal/mineral springs, personal care/beauty and traditional/complementary medicine spending also show strong relationships with these positive health outcomes. These findings may come as a surprise to people who are skeptical of the leisure and self-care aspects of wellness—and this data may be a call for more affordable, inclusive access to these wellness approaches at the policy level.