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Global Wellness Institute partners with Therme Group to showcase South Korea’s wellness offerings

Global Wellness Institute partners with Therme Group to showcase South Korea’s wellness offerings
February 18, 2024

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the leading nonprofit dedicated to research and education in the global wellness industry, has announced a partnership with the Therme Group - a global organisation committed to fostering inclusive urban wellbeing - to showcase South Korea's wellness offerings on the global stage.

South Korea has demonstrated both growth and resilience, scaling from a pre-pandemic $99.6 billion in 2019 to a valuation of $113 billion in 2022.

Wellness in South Korea is a blend of centuries-old traditions and modern science and technology with wellness practices including sauna and hot springs bathing, meditation, martial arts (taekwondo and taekgyeon), herbal and medicinal teas, acupuncture and moxibustion (a technique of burning herbal moxa cones to warm acupuncture points) all widely adopted for health maintenance and healing.

Living well in South Korea today also means adopting modern fitness routines, accessing digital wellness tools, practicing skincare rituals, and accessing diverse cosmetic and beauty options popularly known across the world as K-beauty.

GWI has added South Korea to its growing Geography of Wellness platform, through the partnership with Therme Group and with the collaboration considered to be pivotal in showcasing South Korea on the global stage.

Therme recently announced the location for its first Asia Pacific project as part of the Golden Harbor development in South Korea’s Incheon City.

Susie Ellis, GWI chair and Chief Executive notes “GWI’s Geography of Wellness platform offers a detailed map of the wellness landscape, delineating the economic contributions of wellness-oriented businesses and activities specific to each nation.

“South Korea, the world’s ninth largest wellness market, has demonstrated both growth and resilience, scaling from a pre-pandemic $99.6 billion in 2019, to a 5% dip in 2020 ($94.4 billion), to a valuation of $113 billion in 2022.”

South Korea is not only thriving in its overall wellness economy but is also leading the charge in several specific categories, including ranking #6 globally in both physical activity and traditional & complementary medicine. The nation also secures the #8 spot worldwide in public health, prevention & personalised medicine, as well as workplace wellness - despite a slight dip in spending over the previous year in the latter sector - asserting its continued dedication to evolving workplace culture and public health initiatives.

Stelian Iacob, senior vice president of Therme Group shares “South Korea has rich and varied wellbeing traditions and a high-growth wellness economy. We are committed to enhancing the wellbeing of South Korea’s residents and visitors, and this research provides vital data for the industry. The research shows that people are rediscovering the health benefits of thermal bathing and wellness therapies, and we look forward to working with local partners to bring our unique wellbeing resort experience to the region.”

GWI assesses 11 key sectors within the wellness economies of 218 countries worldwide. South Korea has had notable valuation increases in virtually all sectors for 2022.

South Korea Wellness Sector Annual Growth 2020-2022 with 2022 Valuation

  • Physical Activity: +11%, $29.68B
  • Personal Care & Beauty: +3.5%, $24.87B
  • Healthy Eating, Nutrition & Weight Loss: -0.5%, $13.49B
  • Traditional & Complementary Medicine: +2.7%, $13.46B
  • Public Health, Prevention & Personalized Medicine: +44.6%, $13.40B
  • Wellness Real Estate: +16.5%, $8.37B
  • Wellness Tourism: +11.3%, $5.43B
  • Mental Wellness: +7.2%, valued at $2.86B
  • Spas: +16.2%, valued at $1.55B
  • Workplace Wellness: -3.6, $1.15B
  • Thermal/Mineral Springs: +13.3%, $0.58B

To learn more about South Korea’s wellness economy, visit its dedicated Geography of Wellness page on the GWI website

More information on the Therme Group at

About the author

Karen Sweaney

Co-founder and Editor, Australasian Leisure Management

Artist, geoscientist and specialist writer on the leisure industry, Karen Sweaney is Editor and co-founder of Australasian Leisure Management.

Based in Sydney, Australia, her specific areas of interest include the arts, entertainment, the environment, fitness, tourism and wellness.

She has degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Sydney and Geological Oceanography from UNSW.

Read more from this author

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