It used to be that “wellness tourism” was mostly associated with Thailand, Bali and Malaysia – beautiful locations where treatments are comparatively less expensive than tourists’ home countries.

According to recent statistics released by The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), global wellness tourism is on the rise, and Australia is set to claim its share.

While visits to Australia – and treatments at our spas and clinics – don’t necessarily come cheap, the fact that the land down under frequently appears on tourists’ bucket list, suggests that when they arrive here, they do so with enough cash in their pocket to make the most of their visit.

According to GWI, wellness tourism in Australia is experiencing a growth explosion. Close to half a million visitors to Australia engaged in wellness tourism in 2019, whether it was a visit to a day spa for a massage, or to a cosmetic surgeon for injectables. 

About a third of their travel involved day trips, and overnight stays in domestic destinations such as Byron Bay in NSW or Daylesford in Victoria are also becoming much more popular. These are areas where demand for day spas and salons is intensifying.

Health spas, particularly clinics and salons, are among the most sought-after wellness experiences in Australia.mOne of the reasons tourists are choosing Australia for their cosmetic and wellness needs is our extremely regulated safety policies and practices.

“Australia has a reliable national registry of doctors and plastic surgeons,” says a representative from Health Direct. “Some people consider having cosmetic surgery overseas because it may cost less than in Australia. However, there may be many problems with this. For example, it can be very difficult to get good information about the qualifications and experience of a doctor.” And less-than-satisfactory results can be difficult to rectify.

“Wellness travel can have a positive impact not only on the individual traveller but also local communities, and destinations,” says Katherine Droga, founder of the Wellness Tourism Summit that is set to take place in Noosa on March 19-20. On a monetary level, attracting tourists to our shores is always going to be great for the economy, but bringing them into our salons and clinics is also fundamentally game-changing for our beauty industry.


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