Dubai – MENA Herald: By the end of 2015, the UAE’s spa industry is forecast to achieve revenues of AED 5.5 billion, rising to AED 8.3 billion by 2017, making it one of the most valuable tourism-related industries in the Middle East, with the MENA region the second fastest-growing market in the world for spas after Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).
To capitalise on this burgeoning sector, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016 will introduce a dedicated Wellness & Spa Lounge, exclusively for 25 exhibitors representing some of the world’s most recognised health and wellness hospitality destinations.
According to GWI’s 2014 Global Spa and Wellness Economy Monitor report, the UAE will top spa growth in the region by 2017, more than doubling current business volume with 17.9% annual growth since 2012.
“In our research we found that across all markets, wellness tourism is exceptionally popular, with in excess of 9% year-on-year growth forecasted for the next two years, which is a staggering 50% faster than overall global tourism,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, on 25-28 April 2016.
“This prompted us to design a dedicated space with seminar sessions focused exclusively on industry topics. ATM Wellness & Spa Lounge will be working in association with Spafinder Wellness 365™, the leading consumer resource for wellness travel and the largest marketing and incentives company for the wellness industry, to offer suppliers an exclusive and convenient platform to meet new contacts and conduct business,” she added.
“Destinations that offer truly innovative wellbeing experiences will be the success stories of tomorrow, and are best positioned to be a more competitive and profitable future product,” said John Bevan, Chief Operating Officer, Spafinder Wellness, Inc.
“According to our 2015 State of Wellness Travel Report, almost nine in 10 travel agents said they expect to see growth in the wellness travel for 2015,” he added.
GWI statistics show that wellness tourism represents 6% of all domestic and international trips, and 14% of total domestic and international tourism expenditure.
“Wellness tourists spend, on average, 130% more than the average international traveller, which presents significant opportunity for the MENA hospitality industry to target this high profile, high spend market segment with a wide variety of experiences, facilities and products to grow market share,” said Noblet-Segers.
Designed to be a hub for wellness and spa professionals, the lounge will host two full days of pre-scheduled appointments with high caliber Middle Eastern buyers and up to 25 international wellness suppliers.
Regular ATM exhibitor Carlsbad Plaza Spa & Wellness Hotel will be joined by a host of first-time exhibitors including Groupe Lucien Barrière, Casale Panayiotis Traditional Village, Verdura Resort, CCR Hotels & Spa, Swiss Diamond Hotel, Divani Collection Hotels, HL Le Mirador International, Chenot Group, Velaa Private Island Maldives, LifeClass Hotels & Spa, Sianji Wellbeing Resort and Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda.
A wellness seminar, which will take place in the Showcase Theatre, is scheduled for Wednesday 27 April under the theme Wellbeing Hospitality – Competitive Concepts for Hospitality and Leisure Assets.
Chaired by Laszlo Puczko, Group Managing Director, Resources for Leisure Assets, the session will analyse the importance of developing a wellness-focused strategy interconnected to wellbeing attractions and services that are vital when creating a holistic and unique hospitality experience.
The spa and wellness theme is only a part of a packed agenda being developed for ATM 2016. The main theme is mid-market travel, but other highlights include, technology, halal tourism, business travel, technology, responsible tourism, shopping, aviation, culture and heritage, and adventure travel.
ATM 2016 will build on the success of this year’s edition with the announcement of an additional hall as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to add to its record-breaking achievements earlier this year. ATM 2015 witnessed a year-on-year visitor attendance increase of 12% to over 26,000, with exhibiting companies increasing by 5% to 2,873. Business deals worth more than US$2.5 billion were signed over the four days.