The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel.

The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the German Medical Wellness Association; the new collaboration follows the recent partnership signed between the resort and Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

The MoU was signed in the presence of German Medical Wellness Association president Lutz Lungwitz and the resort's director of sales and marketing Vanessa Waldow. The property, which aims to become the first "holistic wellbeing" resort in the Middle East as previously reported in Hotelier earlier this year, is scheduled for a soft launch in summer 2017.

Introducing the Rayya Wellness Center, the resort intends to offer 360-degree "holistic wellness" solutions, enabling guests can choose from a variety of all-inclusive retreat packages. Rayya Fitness will feature a gym, tennis court and yoga rooms whilst Rayya Spa will feature an array of wellbeing therapies and spa treatments using organic products.

The German Medical Wellness Association is a non-for-profit umbrella organisation for medical wellness in Germany. A key target for the association is the development of international health hotels and resorts, the trade in goods and services in the medical technical division, tourism programmes, and international exchange programmes.

According to a statement from the resort, wellness tourism is projected to grow by more than 9% by the end of 2017, nearly 50% faster than overall global tourism.

According to DHA figures, medical tourism in Dubai yielded revenues of around AED1.42 billion (US$388 million) in 2016, up slightly from AED1.40 billion ($381 million) in 2015. Dubai aims to attract more than 500,000 medical tourists by 2020.

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