UAE embraces wellness tourism
Wellness tourism is rapidly becoming a global trend earning billions of dollars in revenue. In the Middle East and North Africa region, UAE has taken pride of place as the leader in the spa market. According to reports shared by the Global Wellness Institute, the Middle East and North Africa region now has 4,465 spas, up from 3,889 in 2013 (7 per cent CAGR from 2013-2015).
Spa revenues have grown from $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion in those same two years, an incredible 10 per cent CAGR. MENA spa revenues have grown four times faster than the global average from 2013 to 2015: 10 per cent versus 2 per cent. The UAE has become a global spa powerhouse, ranking as one of the top 20 spa markets in the world for the first time in 2015. The UAE spa market is exponentially larger than any other across MENA: a $742 million annual market vs. $255 million for number two, Saudi Arabia and $244 million for number three, Morocco and $222 million for number four, Israel. So, the UAE’s spa market is roughly three times larger than its three next closest regional competitors. The UAE drives 35 per cent of MENA’s spa revenues with $2.72 billion revenue vs. number two market, Morocco at $1.55 billion. It added $472 million in revenues from 2013-2015.
In order to cater to the need of the hour, there is an urgent need for specialised agents for wellness tourism. Some of the reputed universities and accredited colleges, even in the UAE, offer training programmes, workshops and certifications to ensure that agents are well versed in this segment.
This wellness tourism trend generated in the Asian region with Yoga and meditation. Canada and some of the western countries have very quickly adopted this tourism segment and are conducting various researches on its best practices. In the UAE, the support of the government is immense in these kind of tourism trends and the partners are working together to ensure the numbers of GCC wellness seekers rise in the UAE as it is one of the safest countries in the region.