2023 marks year of wellness economy

February 09, 2023 | 16:51
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This year is predicted to be a tough one for economies around the world, but also one of promising opportunities amid a trend for health and natural wellness escapes.

In 2022, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) released The Global Wellness Economy: Country Rankings, and Vietnam was ranked 33rd among 150 countries by the size of their wellness economies while the US, China, and Japan made the top three.

2023 marks year of wellness economy

According to the report, the global wellness economy was valued at $4.9 trillion in 2019 and then fell to $4.4 trillion in 2020. However, GWI predicts that the wellness economy will return to its robust growth. It projects 9.9 per cent average annual growth, with the wellness economy reaching nearly $7 trillion in 2025. The result is a strong dynamic for Vietnam’s tourism and hospitality sectors to invest in high-end wellness and health products while maximising the core value of the country’s unique natural beauty, cultural identity, and local healthy cuisine.

“Wellness is a big part of the global and regional economy, highlighting its potential role in post-pandemic recovery efforts. It emphasises the importance of a lifespan approach to wellness to safeguard long-term mental and physical health,” said Brice Borin, general manager of Pimalai Resort & Spa.

“There is a plus for a country like Vietnam that is establishing itself as one of Southeast Asia’s top tourist destinations due to cultural authenticity, overwhelming nature, and convenient accessibility. This all makes Vietnam a holiday destination, which could be exceptional and a fantastic experience.”

Alongside favourable natural conditions, objective factors from the increase in the number of tourists, especially international tourists from the beginning of 2023, also open up new opportunities for Vietnam’s tourism industry.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), international tourists to Vietnam in January 2023 reached over 871,100, an increase of 23 per cent on-month. The largest international visitor markets are South Korea, the US, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Accommodation establishments recorded the number of international guests’ bookings reaching 30-40 per cent of the total number of bookings during the Lunar New Year break.

“The return of international visitors has proved the country’s right and timely moves to restructure tourist markets and renew tourism products, including new products suitable to the needs of tourists after the pandemic such as wellness tourism,” said VNAT general director Nguyen Trung Khanh.

In addition to big cities like Hanoi, Danang or Ho Chi Minh City, some emerging destinations with wellness products in terms of mental healing and healthcare also recorded an increase in the number of visitors in January. Some localities have also begun to focus on this and consider it as one of the main tourism products for the near future.

During the six official days of the Lunar New Year holiday, Khanh Hoa welcomed a total of 11,300 international visitors from China, Kazakhstan, and South Korea, Ninh Binh served 29,500 international arrivals, Ba Ria-Vung Tau served over 10,000 international guests, while in Phu Yen, the number of foreign tourists accounted for about 40 per cent of the total.

The south-central province of Binh Thuan, a prominent destination for Vietnam National Tourism Year 2023, has determined that wellness tourism and the events industry will become its key products to attract tourists. Binh Thuan will converge all elements of beautiful landscape and quality services to develop a variety of tourism products and models. This destination currently has nearly 600 accommodation establishments with nearly 18,000 rooms, including 45 hotels and resorts of 3-star quality or higher. “In the plan to 2030, with a vision to 2045, we also spend a large part of our resources to develop the events industry and wellness tourism,” said Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Minh. “With the opening of the market, travel agencies also play a critical role in diversifying services and experiences to provide new products to attract tourists.”

The potential of the domestic wellness market has recently become apparent as many leading brand names such as BRG, Vingroup, Sun Group, CEO Group, and Openasia Group are all joining this segment and investing in a series of luxury resort projects.

“Vietnam’s wellness is focused on using the rich biodiversity of the enigmatic natural powers of the Mekong for healing and enhancing beauty. Pure plant extracts, wild lotus, and rice extractions lead to the finest quality oils and healing techniques for treatments,” said Timothy Hunt, director of rooms at Park Hyatt Saigon.

Up and down the country, hoteliers are showcasing their utmost to bewitch and pamper their guests with high-end healthcare, beauty care, and wellbeing retreats and experiences. They provide attractive benefits that will entice people after several years of travel restrictions, and such trips are a chance to escape one’s home and improve the immune system in a healthier climate and nature.

“Vietnam is the perfect example of a friendly healthcare destination as tourists can easily experience affordable and high-end healthcare treatments,” said Pham Huu Duc at Tui Blue Nam Hoi An.

Addressing reforms in Vietnam’s healthcare sector Addressing reforms in Vietnam’s healthcare sector

Last year continued to be a time of many challenges for the healthcare sector. Globally, the pandemic remained unpredictable. In Vietnam, the country faced a rise in dengue fever and the risk of dangerous emerging diseases. After three years of fighting the pandemic, more difficulties have arisen.

By Hanh An

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