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Mega-events and wellness take centre stage

Mega-events and wellness take centre stage

The UNWTO & WTM Ministers’ Summit set the tone for the second day of World Travel Market 2014, with tourism ministers from around the world discussing the synergies between mega-events and tourism.

The key message is that the legacy benefits should always be front of mind when destinations are considering whether to host such events.

The UNWTO defined the legacy benefits in five ways: building national unity and pride through community involvement; improving the capacity to attract private investment; forming a better prepared workforce; achieving a strong positioning or reposition of the brand of the host destination(s); and transforming a tourism destination.

One such mega-event is the Rugby World Cup, which will take place in England next year. In a session entitled Rugby World Cup – the Potential for Sports Tourism, Brett Gosper, CEO of the International Rugby Board, said some 460,000 rugby fans from around the world will visit England next year.

The event will also provide economic benefits of £2.5 billion for the UK.


The session, moderated by Keith Wood, former British and Irish Lion and captain of Ireland, revealed sports tourism is the fastest-growing tourism sector, tipped to grow by 14% next year, while tourism as a whole is predicted to grow by 2-4%.

Sports fans who favour the underdog might be interested to note that easyJet is adding more flights to Gibraltar. A new service will start on April 19 and run up to three times a week year-round from Bristol.

Gibraltar, with a population of less than 30,000,  is now competing in the UEFA European Championship for the first time.

Wellness is another tourism sector which is tipped for growth.

“It has been growing organically at 12% without the huge travel industry getting behind it,” said Spafinder Wellness 365 Managing Director John Bevan.

During the WTM panel discussion What Exactly is Wellness Tourism? Brighter PR Chairman Steve Dunne said: “I think, from a travel sector point of view, if we can get the consumer bought into this, this is going to be the new cruise industry.”

Wellbeing Escapes CEO Stella Photi added that the government was helping drive the message of taking responsibility for your future health.

Elsewhere, delegates heard from successful female ‘trav-preneurs’ about how to run a travel business, as part of the new ‘Women in Travel’ programme at WTM.

It featured Mandy Nickerson, founder of Hexagon Travel; Julia Feuell, founder and Managing Director of New Frontiers and OTT Travel Training; Sarah Johnson Managing Director of marketing company Lotus UK; and Jessica Bain, founder and Co-director of specialist operator Latin Routes; along with moderator Alessandro Alonso, Management Consultant and Coach-Mentor.

The speakers shared tips with the audience of entrepreneurs, such as raising funding, finding mentors, networking, hiring the right staff, taking care with cash flow and juggling family commitments.

All agreed they had a passion for their business, as well as plenty of energy to cope with the demands of being an entrepreneur.