RITIKA SHARMA / Emirates Business
UAE is one of the most alluring destinations across the world that reinvents itself each time to expand its tourism appeal beyond the sun, sand and Burj Khalifa. The country now counts on Wellness holidays as a major source of revenue.
UAEâ€™s spa industry, major segment of wellness holiday, is forecast to achieve revenues of US$2.26 billion by 2017, making it one of the most valuable tourism-related industries in the Middle East. According to the reports, the UAE will top spa growth in the region by 2017, more than doubling current business volume with 17.9 percent annual growth since 2012.
Keeping this in mind, this yearâ€™s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) will be shining a light on the burgeoning wellness tourism sector in the MENA, which has been identified as the second fastest growing market in the world for spas after Sub-Saharan Africa.
â€œIn our research before ATM, we found that across all markets, wellness tourism is exceptionally popular. This is confirmed by the report, which shows over a 9 percent year-on-year growth forecasted for the next two years, which is a staggering 50 percent faster than overall global tourism,â€ said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, ATM, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, from April 25-28.
In a report by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the value of wellness trips across Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has reached US$7.3 billion, with health-focussed tourists spending 130 percent more than regular travellers.
There are more than 1,000 spas in the Middle East region and the UAE has more than 500 spas divided between hotel spas, medical spas and stand-alone establishments.
Sayed Salem, Spa Manager, The Palace Downtown said, â€œWe have seen a significant shift among consumers for wellness and preventative health. They are expecting a more proactive approach from the spa in addressing primary health concerns.â€
The GWI report also highlights total spa and wellness revenues for 2014 for more key destinations including Saudi Arabia US$223 million; Oman US$207 million â€“ which is set to experience an annual growth rate for overall sector tourism of 9.3 percent from 2012 to 2017; Qatar US$156.27 million; and Bahrain, US$181 million.