Economic impacts of spa and wellness tourism in Rotorua

A new report underscores Rotorua’s position as a leading international destination for spa and wellness tourism, drawing attention to the city’s rich geothermal resources and diverse offerings.

With global interest in health and wellbeing continuing to increase, the report predicts visitor spend by Rotorua spa and wellness holidaymakers, could jump from the $277.6 million spent in 2023, to $408.2 million in just a few years.

The full report by Benje Patterson on the economic value of Rotorua’s spa and wellness sector is available for download here.

The “Economic impacts of spa and wellness tourism in Rotorua” report, provided by New Zealand leading regional economist Benje Patterson, has unveiled significant positive economic impact and shown the city’s prominence as a premier destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. Released by RotoruaNZ, the report sheds light on the various ways spa and wellness activities contribute to the local economy: visitor attraction, increased spending by wellness travellers as compared to others, priority activities, job creation, and opportunities for future growth.

Key findings include:

  • More than 260,000 domestic holidaymakers and nearly 160,000 international visitors are estimated to have experienced a spa and wellness activity in Rotorua in 2023.
  • Wellness travellers typically spend 41% more than the average traveller.
  • Collectively, these spa and wellness holidaymakers spent $277.6 million within the Rotorua region in 2023, which is projected to rise to an inflation-adjusted $408.2 million by 2028.
  • International research has shown that about 12% of wellness trips are primarily motivated by wellness experiences, meaning that spa and wellness is estimated to be the primary motivation for $33.5 million of current spending and is projected to rise to $49.3 million by 2028.
  • Growth scenarios to 2028 are based on international demand expectations for wellness tourism from the Global Wellness Institute, but to ensure adequate spa and wellness capacity is available in Rotorua there will need to be ongoing investment and development.
  • 11% of spa and wellness holidaymakers’ spend is directly on spa and wellness activities, with the remainder spread over hospitality, accommodation, transport, retail, and non-wellness activities.
  • Some 1,324 jobs in 2023 could have been supported by total spending by spa and wellness holidaymakers during their stay in Rotorua. Of these jobs, 144 would be directly supported by spending with spa and wellness activity operators and 1,180 supported across other businesses.

The full report by Benje Patterson on the economic value of Rotorua’s spa and wellness sector is available for download here.