Lava Hot Springs thrives as wellness tourism recovers

Wellness tourism and mineral and thermal springs took a bath during the COVID-19 pandemic, but both sectors are predicted to rebound dramatically over the next five years. Lava Hot Springs in Idaho is already seeing a robust turnaround. Prior to the pandemic, wellness tourism expenditures and mineral and thermal pool revenues were experiencing robust growth in North America and worldwide, according to the Global Wellness Institute's December 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID. As the coronavirus surged, wellness tourism expenditures and mineral and thermal pool revenues in North America dove 38.5 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively, while they sank 39.5 percent and 38.9 percent, respectively, worldwide. There is no question that wellness tourism, spas, and thermal/mineral springs are the wellness economy sectors that were most adversely affected by COVID-19, the report's authors write. GWI forecasts all 11 sectors of the global wellness economy will grow over the next five years, with wellness tourism and thermal and mineral springs leading the way, boasting annual growth rates of 20.9 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively. In the wake of the pandemic, hot springs owners who were able to continue to operate did so at reduced capacities, but they had record-breaking years, Hot Springs Association executive director Vicky Nash said. Historically U.S. hot springs facilities have always been packed on weekends, Nash, who is actively involved with the Global Wellness Institute's Hot Springs Initiative, said. Lava Hot Springs rests in Eastern Idaho beside the mountainous Portneuf River Valley along the historic route of the Oregon and California Trails, and people have gathered there for centuries to bathe in its sweltering, soothing, mineral-rich waters. There are many other features and activities that make Lava Hot Springs an idyllic health and wellness destination. In the winter there's a ski resort called Pebble Creek and the Mink Creek Nordic Center that are not far from us, so you can come ski or snowboard for the day and enjoy a soak afterwards.

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