ATM 2016: Spa the next frontier for Middle East tourism


Paul Hawco, director of Talise Spa operations, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, spoke at ATM to argue spa is central to the growth of Dubai as a hospitality destination

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.

To capitalise on this burgeoning sector, Arabian Travel Market 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 per cent annual growth since 2012.

“In our research we found that across all markets, wellness tourism is exceptionally popular, with in excess of nine per cent year-on-year growth forecasted for the next two years, which is a staggering 50 per cent faster than overall global tourism,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market.

“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.

GWI statistics show that wellness tourism represents six per cent of all domestic and international trips, and 14 per cent of total domestic and international tourism expenditure.

Designed to be a hub for wellness and spa professionals, the lounge will host two full days of pre-scheduled appointments with high calibre Middle Eastern buyers and up to 25 international wellness suppliers.

A wellness seminar, which will take place in the Showcase Theatre, is scheduled for Wednesday April 27th under the theme Wellbeing Hospitality – Competitive Concepts for Hospitality and Leisure Assets.

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.

Watch below as Paul Hawco, director of Talise spa operations at Jumeirah Group, speaks exclusively to Breaking Travel News about the future of the spa sector in Dubai: