Adelaide Hills Wellness-led Tourism Resilience Initiative

Update July 2021

Adelaide Hills Tourism aims to inject significant ongoing economic and socio benefits into the region and the State via a new Wellness-led Tourism Resilience Initiative. This project is underpinned by local and state-wide collaboration, innovation, and new business development around an untapped consumer demand for wellness travel experiences in Australia. It will help the region bounce back from the impacts of the Cudlee Creek Bushfire of December 2019, which have been compounded by COVID-19.

$395,000 funding towards the project was announced by the Australian and South Australian Governments on 24 February 2021 as part of the Local Economic Recovery (LER) support under the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Roaming Zen Yoga, Adelaide Hills
Roaming Zen Yoga in the Vineyards

What is Wellness Tourism?

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as travel experiences that maintain or enhance your personal health and wellbeing

Examples of wellness tourism in the Adelaide Hills reflect the integration of mental, physical, spiritual and social wellness experiences and activities that encompass food, beverages, retail, spa experiences, creative pursuits, active events in nature and overnight stays with a wellness theme.

Escapegoat Adventures Mountain Bike Tour, Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide Hills
Escapegoat Adventures, Cleland Conservation Park

Project Overview

There are three components to the project that will be delivered by June 2022.

  1. Develop an Adelaide Hills Wellness Tourism Strategy including a compilation of existing wellbeing experiences, consultation with key stakeholders and a roadmap for the region and its tourism operators. Facilitated by Droga & Co - Australia's leading expert in wellness tourism destination development and promotion - this foundation work undertaken March - May 2021 will help to establish a sustainable planning framework and key actions required for wellness tourism destination development, promotion, industry engagement and product development.

  2. Deliver a wellness tourism incubator business event for tourism businesses and stakeholders primarily from South Australia that builds business capability through upskilling and engaging with the tourism industry on global and domestic wellness and product trends. Attendees will learn how to adapt and enhance tourism experiences to align with consumer needs. Run over one and a half days, the Wellness Tourism Unearthed event planned for 2-3 August 2021 (pending confirmation of a new date due to South Australian COVID-19 restrictions) will be relevant for agritourism and nature-based tourism operators, food and beverage experiences, accommodation providers, retreats, spas, wellness practitioners and suppliers, travel distributors and tourism destinations exploring wellness concepts.

  3. Deliver a wellbeing event for consumers in the Adelaide Hills over a weekend in autumn 2022 featuring mental, physical, and social wellness experiences and activities that encompass food, beverages, retail, spa experiences, sustainable experiences, creative elements, active events in nature and overnight stays (with a wellness theme) across the Adelaide Hills region. The event will feature both free and paid wellness events with a range price points. This event will build intra and interstate awareness of what the region can offer as a wellness destination and inject immediate expenditure into the region and its operators.

Jurlique Farm Tour, Biggs Flat, Adelaide Hills
Jurlique Farm Tour, Biggs Flat

Project Outcomes

The project will:

  • Activate existing operators and industry stakeholders to extend their offerings to match current consumer demands for wellness travel experiences.

  • Build wellness product capability and investment for long term growth.

  • Drive immediate visitation and visitor expenditure through the industry and consumer event elements.

  • Build resilience and sustainability of the tourism sector by expanding offerings to a new high yielding visitor segment.

  • Deliver greater emphasis on wellness in the region and an increased range of wellness experiences available to the local community.

  • Embed the region’s wellness credentials and further enhance the region’s positioning as a wellness hub.

Projected immediate economic contribution via direct injection into the region’s visitor economy of the project is nearly $1 million in visitor spend. This project has intentionally been planned around maximising dispersal across the Adelaide Hills tourism region to ensure the broadest range of operators and products benefit from activities.

CABN off grid tiny house accommodation, Adelaide Hills
CABN accommodation

Why Wellness Tourism?

Wellness tourism has been strongly identified as an opportunity for Adelaide Hills within the 2025 SA Regional Visitor Strategy. Priorities include experience and accommodation development, marketing, collaboration, business events and capacity building as well becoming an incubator for State-wide industry development in this space.

Concepts such as wellness, natural therapy, lifestyle and wellbeing have long been a part of Adelaide Hills Tourism’s strategic plans and key messaging. Wellness has been identified as an area for future development but after the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic this segment has become a priority area to build resilience and a diversified experience and visitor portfolio. 

Wellness visitors like to travel in shoulder or off-peak seasons which is ideal for the Adelaide Hills which is quieter mid-week especially without international and corporate travellers. They embrace and respect local communities, nature and cultures, and favour sustainable travel practices.

Studies by the Global Wellness Institute pre and post COVID-19 reveal the following compelling facts:

  • $639 billion spent globally on wellness tourism expenditure annually pre COVID-19

  • $15 billion in Australia (90% from domestic visitors)

  • Growing at twice the rate of average travel expenditure pre COVID-19

  • Domestic wellness visitors spend 178% more than regular domestic visitors

  • 56% of respondents intend to increase their focus on their own wellbeing

  • 42% of respondents intend to increase their intention for wellness travel

Sequoia Lodge, Crafers
Sequoia Lodge, Crafers

How will the project contribute to the tourism industry and Adelaide Hills communities?

This Wellness-led Tourism Resilience Initiative has been created to build immediate tangible benefits as well as longer term sustainable outcomes for the community and businesses.

Wellbeing is important for everyone – both visitors and the local community. The bushfires had a significant impact on local community wellbeing, especially people’s mental wellbeing, as well an adverse impact of businesses, vineyards and the natural environment.

This wellness-led resilience initiative prioritises the wellness of our region and its communities. The initiative supports local community health and wellbeing by celebrating, creating, and promoting new wellness experiences for all.

The Cedars, Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills
The Cedars, Hahndorf

Adelaide Hills as a Wellness Destination

Historically, the Adelaide Hills was the place where the Adelaide aristocracy would retreat to in the heat of the summer for nature, rest, and an enviable lifestyle. Adelaide Hills Tourism looks forward to working with key stakeholders on futher developing the region's wellness proposition and messaging.

Apple Picking, Lenswood, Adelaide Hills
Apple Picking, Lenswood

More Informaion

For more information please contact Adelaide Hills Tourism:

Tanya Jarman
Phone: 0414 371 481

This initiative is supported by a bushfire recovery grant from the Government of South Australia and the Australian Government.