Health and wellness tourism - one of the industry’s fastest growing sectors worldwide - is a major focus at World Travel Market 2006.
The global event will be working with the British International Spa Association and the Spa Research Fellowship to assist delegates understand more about where social trends find immediate reflection in the latest developments.
“This is no longer the sole domain of well-heeled women with nothing else to do”, said Fiona Jeffery, Managing Director of World Travel Market. “Well Being is now the bottom line for every consumer.
“People want look and feel better, lose weight, slow the affects of aging, relieve pain and discomfort, manage stress and use vitamins, natural minerals and treatments to improve their health.
“Spas in particular are becoming extremely relevant to today’s traveller and are becoming more affordable, targeting the middle income groups as well as the wealthy.
“Cosmetic treatments were the trend over the past few years but this has now been replaced by a far reaching and booming health and medical tourism business.
“We are delighted to be working with our friends at BISA and the Spa Research Fellowship who are at the forefront of this whole sector. They will help us provide the right kind of information that is now crucial to almost everyone working in the industry.
She said that the health and wellness focus at this year’s World Travel Market at ExCeL London between 6-9 November was part of WTM’s Insight programme, working with leading experts to provide the very latest market intelligence.
BISA, set up by professionals to establish quality standards in tandem with education and training for the spa industry, and the Spa Research Fellowship, promoting education, research and scholarship into all aspects of spa and health resorts and the use of mineral and spa waters, will be organising seminars on health and wellness at World Travel Market.
BISA also plans to launch a third generation development of its international spa accreditation scheme on the opening day.
Dr. Bruce Osborne, Chairman Spas Research Fellowship and BISA Council member said: “Spas are now a key consideration for many holidaymakers and in recent years the quickest growing segment of the hospitality industry has been Hotels with Spas and Destination Spas.
“The indications are that spas that include overnight accommodation will become an even bigger factor in the consumer choice of destination. Rather than being merely an amenity offered at a hotel or resort, spas are the deciding factor.”
“Spas are now a key consideration for many holidaymakers because they offer a relaxation and health component to the traditional holiday or break.
For many professional and affluent holidaymakers the combination of accommodation and health enables the limited time available for a break to be utilised to maximum effect. As a result we have seen the spa industry world wide develop at an exponential rate in recent years.
“Destination spas are the vital component in providing accommodation and general tourism services alongside health and wellbeing. The corresponding growth in air travel has enabled this effect to spread to every corner of the globe.
“There is a wide variety of therapies and treatments available, many of which have a distinct ethnic or regional bias. Others specialise in traditional spa treatments utilising natural waters. While many resorts offer pampering and general therapies, others can provide serious mainstream medical procedures. This all means that consumer choice is enormous.
“When sited in attractive locations, the combination of leisure and wellbeing is irresistible. Quality standards are essential if the industry is to prosper in the future and this is why the BISA Accreditation Scheme is vital.
“It gives consumers worldwide a measure of confidence in booking their adventure.”
The vehicle for promoting spas and BISA Accreditation is Spagazers.com, the Spas Directory. Operated by the Spas Research Fellowship, the Directory amasses data on spas and disseminates this information to consumers in a searchable format through Spagazers.
He added: “We look forward to being at World Travel Market to help delegates understand more about the health and wellness sector, as well as details of our services and what they can mean for both the industry and consumers.”