According to a recent report by Global Wellness Tourism Congress, the wellness tourism industry is expected to develop at a fast rate in African as well as Middle East countries. What makes the research, conducted by SRI International, unique is that it analyzes the North African and Middle Eastern markets separately, revealing the true potential of these two emerging wellness tourism markets.
If we closely look at the report, we find that Middle East is leader in terms of growth of wellness industry, with a growth rate of sixteen percent annually. By achieving this growth, the region will take the revenue share from $5.3 billion figure in 2012 to $16 billion by 2017. Similarly, there will be twelve percent annual growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, which will take the market from $2 billion figure of 2012 to $5 billion by the end of 2017. In African region, South Africa will be a major player while in Middle East; UAE will play a major role in development of the industry.
Growth Prospect of Wellness Tourism Industry
According to the GWTC report, which analyzed the $439 billion wellness, tourism market, states that the market is growing at a rate of fifty percent annually as compared to overall growth of the tourism sector.
Features sparking such growth in these regions include the diversity present in Middle East in terms of the spas and hotels available and resurrection of old indigenous practices like the hammams. Similarly, African nations are trying to promote healthy adventures as well as safari tours in their countries apart from wellness resorts.
About Wellness Travelers
The report had some interesting revelation as well about wellness travelers. It was noticed that secondary purpose wellness travelers who were traveling with a primary objective that was something else comprised about 85% of the total wellness tours and expenditures. Even when it was not the main objective of travel, these people were interested in maintaining their wellness while traveling.
Interest in wellness included things like finding a hotel with wellness suites, a healthy menu or good exercise facilities. As for example, a tourist visits India for meeting his or her cultural interest and at the same time visits yoga classes or joins any ayurvedic center.
Advantages of Growth in Health and Wellness Tourism
There are direct benefits for any economy from growth of health and wellness tourism since it is estimated that this industry is creating more than twelve million jobs around the globe and imparts an economic impact of around $1.3 trillion. Thus it is clear that wellness tourism industry is one of the largest segments equivalent to culinary and eco tourism. The other benefit is that all these industries are interlinked and a wellness tourist may well be interested in sports tourism or eco tourism.
It is generally seen that the wellness tourists are more knowledgeable as well as wealthier and tend to spend more during their trips as compared to other tourists. As for example, a general tourist normally spends about $1,000 on a trip, which does not include the cost of air travel while in comparison spending of wellness tourist is around 65% higher. For domestic travelers also, the figures are different with normal domestic wellness travelers spending about 2.5 times more than normal travelers spend.
Health and wellness tourism is growing in every part of the world, with faster growth seen in Middle Eastern as well as North African nations. There are a number of economic benefits for the countries to promote such type of tourism and it is the right time to pay attention to it. More people are planning vacations that combine health and wellness programs into it and the industry has to capitalize on this demand and raise its level of standards to meet the requirements.