06 Dec 2021
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Adelaide Hills is primed to be the wellness destination of South Australia

Sequoia Lodge, Adelaide Hills
Sequoia Lodge, Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills is set to be the leader of wellness in South Australia as new global research predicts the fastest growing sector is Wellness Tourism, with a whopping 20.9% growth expected through to 2025.

Katherine Droga, Founder of the Wellness Tourism Summit and Droga & Co, and Chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Tourism Initiative said that while the effects of COVID are still present, the global research released in Boston this week states that the Wellness Tourism sector is expected to bounce back significantly.

“The flow on effects of the pandemic has seen a significant increase in people prioritising their own personal wellness. This goes far beyond simply forming a new exercise or health regime and instead is becoming a key purpose for travel itself,” she said.

Closer to home, The Adelaide Hills Wellness Resilience Project, funded through a bushfire recovery grant from the South Australian and Federal Governments was awarded to the Adelaide Hills in March 2021 to capitalise on the then growing trend. Research from the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Tourism Initiative found that 56% of respondents intended to increase their focus on their own wellbeing, with 42% intending to travel for wellness as COVID restrictions lift.

The Adelaide Hills has naturally formed a strong Wellness Tourism offering and is an organic fit to be the leader of wellness in South Australia. There are more than 70 “wellness tourism” existing experiences in the hills such as: the newly opened Sequoia Lodge - one of the nation’s most exclusive luxury accommodation and spas; world class Jurlique Farm, retreats and yoga in the vineyards with Roaming Zen, a variety of “provenance and pick your own” products, nature focused tours with PureSA and BigHeartAdventures, Escapegoat forest bathing, e-biking with Bikeabout and a hub for the arts community, all within 20 minutes of a capital city.

Martin Radcliffe, Chairperson of the Adelaide Hills Tourism Board said the Adelaide Hills is ready for wellness seekers with plenty to choose from as the region sets its sights on developing their wellness tourism offerings.

“Many of our local products that align with this sector have experienced a significant increase in bookings and interest since COVID. We are now seeing investment in infrastructure in places like Cleland and the Cedars for “off-grid” and eco-friendly accommodation as a recent example,” he said.

Hosted by Adelaide Hills Tourism, the Wellness Tourism Unearthed conference held in the Adelaide Hills a couple of weeks ago was attended by investors and tourism operators from across the state. The travel industry incubator presented experts to introduce operators to a sector currently worth $12 billion in Australia.

“The overwhelming response to this conference is indicative of the interest in this sector by local operators not only in the Adelaide hills, but across the state. More than half the attendees (55%) were from the Adelaide Hills and more than a third of the total number of delegates said they were looking to collaborate or invest significantly into the Wellness Tourism sector.

“It’s the longer term, sustainable economic and social benefits that are of significance here. Wellness travellers appreciate local nature, communities and culture and like to travel in off peak times. This will have a positive impact on the region’s visitor economy and our local community,” said Radcliffe.

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the focus on wellness tourism for the Adelaide Hills would help the region track toward its 2025 target.

“Adelaide Hills is a region that benefits from its proximity to Adelaide and is aiming to convert more visitors to stay overnight, to linger longer, spend more and have more reasons to come back,” Mr Harrex said.

“With wellness tourism a burgeoning sector and so many operators in the Hills already offering incredible experiences in this space, there is a real opportunity here as domestic tourism recovers and the regions works to meet its 2025 target of $245 million.”

With such promising data, the future for the industry in the Adelaide Hills looks bright, healthy and strong. Further updates on how the Adelaide Hills will “activate” Wellness Tourism will be announced early in 2022.

For more information about the Adelaide Hills please visit http://www.visitadelaidehills.com.au.