Building a community for networking and education

Wellness Tourism Association

Wellness tourism is expanding quickly, we know that to have a great quality of life, exercise plays a key role, and healthy eating, stress management, and mental wellbeing are just as important. Wellness tourism aims to reduce stress by focusing on cognitive, physical, and, in some cases, emotional well-being. The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as a health-inspired form of vacation, meaning you travel to improve your physical and mental health. Normally people visit places for leisure, but many now travel to recover from stress and exhaustion, turning traveling into a holistic experience.

According to SkyQuest Technology Group, a global market intelligence, innovation management & commercialization organization, The Global Wellness Tourism Market size was valued at USD 814.60 Billion in 2022 and is poised to grow from USD 915.77 Billion in 2023 to USD 2336.34 Billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 12.42% during the forecast period (2024-2031). To discuss more deeply about this topic, Welum interviewed Anne Dimon, President/CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA).

What is the purpose of WTA? What is the members' profile, and what services does it offer?

It was back in 2017.  I have been writing about, speaking on, and promoting Wellness Travel since 2004 when I launched as an online resource for the wellness-minded traveler. I was witnessing the continuing growth of what was still considered a “trend”. I concluded that if this growing “niche” of the tourism industry was going to continue to grow and prosper it would need credibility with media, consumers, and industry stakeholders themselves. When I proposed the idea of an association to several brand leaders - Accor, Art of Living Retreat Centre, Canyon Ranch, and Monaco Government Tourist Office, plus Unicomm – (producers of the Travel & Adventure Show) there was agreement on the need for such an association and monies or “in-kind value” were donated to move forward. The Wellness Tourism Association name was trademarked, and the organization was registered as a not-for-profit in Colorado, then launched in January 2018 at the Travel & Adventure Show in New York.  The primary Mission was to bring standards and definitions to the growing wellness space of the tourism industry plus build a community for networking and education. WTA Members include DMOs, hotels and resorts, tour operators, travel advisors, wellness practitioners, and others who meet the criteria for each category.

Wellness Tourism is relatively new, could you explain the differences between it and Medical Tourism?

Following through on our Mission to bring standards and definitions to the growing wellness space of the tourism industry, we launched the Glossary of Wellness Tourism Industry Terms.  Here is how we explain Wellness Tourism, Medical Tourism, and the relatively new term Medical Wellness:


A specific division of the global tourism industry that is defined by the common goal of marketing natural assets and/or activities primarily focused on serving wellness (all about proactive self-care, living a wellness lifestyle is about living with overall good health as a priority).


A specific division of the global tourism industry is defined by the common goal of serving travelers looking for medical professionals to help them deal with a specific pain, a medical condition, or the need/desire for surgery.


The relatively new term “Medical Wellness” can refer to multi-day retreats, programs, packages, or services that are administered by medical professionals but are deemed to be more proactive/preventative than reactive (such as reacting to pain, a medical condition, or the need/desire for surgery.) Retreats/programs for sleep, stress management, prevention of age-associated conditions, and medical testing for the early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions are examples of Medical Wellness.

You also are the co-author of The Travel Institute’s Wellness Travel Specialist Course launched in 2021, where did this idea come from? And for what?

It was way back in 2019 (just post my being a regular contributing writer to Travel Market Report) that my friend Anne Marie Moebes, publisher of Travel Market Report, who I had spoken with about a possible wellness certification program for travel advisors, reconnected me with Patty Noonan, Director of Sales at The Travel Institute (now in its 60th year of educating and supporting industry professionals). Patty and I spoke and decided to work together to create an in-depth online course, that would allow travel advisors to better serve their wellness-minded clients by learning more about wellness travel. Those who take the course and complete the certification program can then promote themselves as Wellness Travel Specialists.  We also created a badge for those certified specialists to display on their websites and give clients some indication that they can be of assistance with their upcoming wellness travels.

WTA Wellness Travel Definition

Travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of well-being.

You have been recognized as an influencer and expert on wellness tourism and wellness travel, you were named one of Canada’s top 100 wellness influencers by Canada’s Optimyz Magazine, tell us, based on your experience, what are the challenges and opportunities for wellness tourism in the coming years?

Wellness Tourism will continue to grow as demand for wellness-focused travels continues.

As more and more suppliers (hotels, resorts, tour operators) are embracing the space, the biggest challenge will be distinguishing the company from the competition.

You are the owner/Editor of, an industry journalist who has traveled the world as a columnist/contributor to a wide variety of publications, and an industry consultant for resorts and tourism boards, you have been asked to speak on the subject of wellness travel and wellness tourism at both consumer and industry events such as the Travel & Adventure Show, the New York Times Travel Show, Travel Market Report’s Travel Market Place, the World Travel Market (London), Global Wellness Summit, among others. What lessons have you learned over the years in all these roles related to Wellness tourism?  

That’s a tough one. But the one overriding lesson learned is that because the concept of “wellness travel” continues to gain traction, more consumers are interested and are increasing demand and, consequently, more hotels, resorts, tour operators, Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), and others are interested in learning more about the space, what consumers want and what they need to do to attract those growing numbers.

What piece of advice would you like to give DMOs?

If a DMO is looking to attract wellness-minded travelers, they should first know what consumers want, need, and demand, then conduct an audit of their specific region to see what local assets are available to these travelers. If they are looking to go a bit further and promote themselves as a Wellness Destination, then the WTA offers a 10-point list of what a geographic region looking to market itself as such should possess.

In the beginning, you worked in the hotel industry as Director of Public Relations for the Delta Chelsea Inn in Toronto, then as Public Relations Director Eastern Region for Delta Hotels in Canada, and then you launched your PR company, do you think that the fact of being a PR Director shaped your professional future?  

I do not believe it was PR itself that shaped my professional future but the opportunity to work for a hotel chain and become part of an exciting new (to me) industry – tourism.

Finally, in the personal area, how did you manage to be so successful and also to be a wife, mother, and grandmother? I mean it seems you have all.

I do feel blessed to have such a loving and caring family. It’s so important to keep in mind that regardless of how important your work is to you, your family should always come first.

Every day I feel thankful for the love and support of my husband over the 47 years we have been together.