Spafinder Wellness 365 will be associated in setting up a dedicated Wellness & Spa Lounge at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016, which will be held April 25-26 at Dubai's World Trade Center.
Described by the ATM as “the hub for spa and wellness travel professionals,” the lounge underscores the growing importance of the wellness tourism sector at ATM and across the globe. The concept is to maximize connections for spa and wellness international suppliers with Middle Eastern buyers through prescheduled appointments, a dedicated private “meeting pod” in the lounge, special marketing opportunities and many prestigious wellness travel properties.
“Our goal is to further awareness and the growth of wellness travel worldwide and especially to bring attention to the outstanding spa and wellness offerings in the MENA, which has a rich tradition of wellness,” Spafinder Wellness Chief Operating Officer John Bevan told Gulf News Journal.
After the highly successful World Travel Market (WTM) Wellness & Spa Lounge in London, the team behind the lounge is going to introduce the concept of an exclusive platform where suppliers can meet new contacts and conduct business at the ATM.
“We are very excited that the ATM Wellness Lounge will debut at the Arabian Travel Market in 2016, and all of us at Spafinder Wellness are proud to support both the ATM and the WTM,” Bevan said.
The wellness tourism sector in the MENA region has seen exponential growth recent years. According to the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) “Global Wellness Tourism Economy” reports in 2013 and 2014, which is sponsored by Spafinder Wellness, the MENA region was the second fastest growing region for revenues worldwide (39 percent growth annually).
“We believe that marketing and business decisions in the Middle East should be supported by credible research, like the reports made available through the GWI and Spafinder’s industry and consumer surveys, such as our annual State of Wellness Travel Report,” Bevan said.
According to Spafinder’s 2015 Spa & Wellness Trends Report (“Wellness Traditions from the Islamic World”), 1,000+ years of sophisticated, nature-based traditional medical systems and countless beauty solutions and body treatments in the Middle East has created a vast “wellness” map that stretches from Middle East to North Africa and sub-Saharan countries to Central and Southeast Asia.
Bevan said despite the political instability having an impact on inbound wellness tourism in some MENA nations, regional growth continues to be strong and, according to the GWI, nations like Jordan and Saudi Arabia will continue to see double-digit annual growth. Also, there is a growing need for more trained spa managers and therapists in the Middle East.
In 2013, 57,000 people were employed in the MENA but the projected demand in 2018 is more than triple. This is especially true in countries with the largest spa growth: Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“As described in Spafinder’s Trend Report, the world is discovering exceptional wellness and spa offerings in the Middle East and there is no question wellness tourism will be the decisive factor in the region’s tourism growth,” Bevan said.
Spafinder Wellness, which is headquartered in the U.S., offers its partners in the Middle East various programs to empower wellness tourism in the region.
”We serve our partners in the Middle East from our offices in the U.K. and field strong marketing programs to bring attention to spas and wellness travel locations in the region.” Bevan said. “We are delighted to have played a part in the decision to offer the ATM Spa & Wellness Lounge. It has also been a privilege to work with Simon Press, senior director of the World Travel Market, who clearly understands that wellness travel is the most important trend in the travel industry and had the foresight to make the Spa & Wellness Lounge a forward thinking feature of both WTM and ATM.”