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Arabian Travel Market to focus on MENA wellness tourism sector

Arabian Travel Market to focus on MENA wellness tourism sector

A Wellness Symposium, which will throw the spotlight on the $8.3 billion industry in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA), will be launched at Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, 24-27 April.

A partnership between the World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio of events and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the symposium has been organised as part of a schedule of events in ATM’s Wellness Lounge.

It will also analyse MENA’s thriving domestic (4 million trips) and inbound (4.5 million trips) wellness tourism markets – as well as trends in outbound wellness tourism from the Middle East.

“Wellness travel is not only growing twice as fast as tourism overall, it’s evolving in bold new directions, both globally and across the Middle East. Our ongoing mission will be to bring together the top experts and latest research and trends in this travel space to ATM and WTM’s tens of thousands of attendees,” said Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the GWI.

The UAE leads the Middle Eastern wellness tourism market. With an average of 1.7 million wellness trips generating $2.7 billion annually, it accounts for 14% of the MENA spa market, according to research from Colliers Experiential Travel Series.

“The UAE is followed by Morocco (1.66 million trips), Tunisia (0.76 million trips) and Jordan (0.62 million trips). However, the growth in wellness tourism in MENA compared with overall tourism over the past five years is truly remarkable.

“For example, wellness trips in the UAE have grown by 17.9% during this period, while overall tourism has grown 8.1%. It’s a similar story with Morocco (14.7% versus 6.6%), Tunisia (9.4% versus 4.5%) and Jordan (12.8% versus 5.9%).”

Having already identified the demand for wellness, ATM launched a dedicated Wellness and Spa Lounge in 2016, connecting Middle East wellness and spa buyers with international suppliers.

Indeed, the Dubai hotel spa market experienced a 9% increase in the average number of treatments sold per day in H1 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 and 25 new hotel spas are expected to open this year, making a total of over 200 spas.

Designed as a hub for wellness and spa professionals, the lounge returns to this year’s event and will host two days of up to 35 pre-scheduled appointments with high calibre Middle Eastern buyers and up to 35 international wellness suppliers.

Exhibitors in this year’s Wellness and Spa Lounge include some of the most recognisable names in the industry from Italy, Switzerland France, Hungary, Canada, India and The Maldives, such as the Swiss Diamond Hotel, Lugano; L’ Albereta, Lake Iseo, Brescia; Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalassa, Cannes and the Velaa Private Island Maldives.

After ATM, the partnership continues at WTM London – the leading global event for the travel industry (6-8 November 2017) – with a focus on the global wellness industry, which has grown to $3.72 trillion.

WTM London, which was responsible for £2.8 billion in agreed industry deals last year, will also host a dedicated Wellness Lounge facilitating deals in the wellness travel and tourism sector.

“WTM and ATM are two powerful travel industry events that attract more global travel professionals than any other,” added Ellis.

eTN is a media partner for ATM.

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