The UAE leads the Middle Eastern wellness tourism market, with an average of 1.7 million wellness trips generating $2.7 billion annually, according to new research.
The country accounts for 14% of the MENA spa market, said Colliers Experiential Travel Series in a report which added that Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan were also prominent players in the regional market.
It said wellness trips in the UAE have grown by 17.9% over the past five years, while overall tourism has grown 8.1%.
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) at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 24-27.
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,” said Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute.
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.
The Dubai hotel spa market experienced a 9% increase in the average number of treatments sold per day in the first half of 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.