The Global Wellness Tourism Congress has released data demonstrating that, while the Middle East and Africa is currently the smallest global wellness travel market, it is potentially the fastest growing market.
Currently growth in the Middle East/North Africa region is 16.2% annually, according to the research undertaken by SRI International for GWTC, with the sector expected to be valued at US$16.6bn by 2017.
Other figures suggest the UAE will demonstrate the fastest growth of any country in the Middle East/Africa region at 17.9% – giving it a ranking of sixth worldwide.
The global wellness tourism market is estimated at $439bn, and rising at approximately 50 per cent faster than the tourism sector overall, according to the GWTC.
Presenting the findings at ATM, Anni Hood, tourism and government liaison for GWTC said wellness-focused travel was growing fast across the region: “We have a luxury/spa hotel building boom across the GCC nations and the revitalization of indigenous practices such as hammam and baths – while Africa is tourism’s next frontier with the rise of healthy adventure safari tourism, continued growth of spa/wellness resorts and emerging destinations.”
Among other findings in the report: the Middle East/North African region drives 4.8 wellness-focused trips annually, both inbound and domestic; the UAE generates 800,000 trips related to the sector with an expenditure of $1.4bn, with a similar number of trips in Morocco and Egypt.