UAE em­braces well­ness tourism

TravTalk - Middle East - - GUEST COLUMN -

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.

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