Tag Archives: wellness tourism

Growth & trends in medical and wellness tourism

Burgenstock Waldhotel, Switzerland

The two spectrums of health tourism, medical and wellness are showing nourishing growth and massaging the lifestyle demands of today’s travellers.

The latest research was revealed at this year’s Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. Growth rate in Medical Tourism, according to Patients Beyond Borders and the Global Wellness Institute was up by 17% in 2017, with 22 million crossing borders. Wellness Travel had increased by 7.5% accounting to 290 million travellers. In the Middle East, the top five markets were, in descending order,  UAE, Morocco, Israel, Jordon and Bahrain. Spas and thermal mineral springs were highlighted as the most popular treatments.

Arab Health Magazine (January 15, 2019), featured medical tourism trends. Mental and dental treatments are at the top. Millenniums,  however, being more tech savvy, view medical tourism in a new light preferring telemedicine rather than doctors surgeries. Their treatments are usually due to incidental medical travel. Millenniums view wellness in the form of meditation and personalized nutrition while fashion has joined the wellness movement using fabrics and styles that allow more freedom.

The key current trends focus on mental wellness encompassing meditation and arts & creativity programming. They also include insomnia which is ruffling pillows to create sleep mania solutions, CBD (Cannabis based therapy) is making the industry light-headed and ways to make us happy are a subject for conversation.

Countries and cities are competing to become the key health tourism destination. Dubai’s Health Tourism  is now advancing and taking shape to meet its objective as a Preferred Global Health Care Destination & Wellness Hub. Ninety percent of Dubai’s hospitals have international accreditations and affiliations. This destination has a specialist holistic wellness resort, The Retreat Palm Dubai. Through its accredited facilities it is offering futuristic signature treatments like Cryotherapy and Vitamin Revitalization. For the international market its focus is on orthopedics, dentistry and dermatology amongst many other medical conditions. And to make bookings and research easier, Dubai Health Tourism www.dxh.ae helps visitors to make their bookings on one smart, smooth, seamless platform.

Dubai is working on emerging opportunities such as the meditation industry as anxiety and depression rates reach epic proportions worldwide. Meditation is now the fastest growing wellness trend in the US and elsewhere, with an explosion of meditation studios, apps and brands.  Wellness for aging and anti-aging is growing with countries like Italy, Japan and the US searching for solutions for ageing population and senior’s revitalization.

As a Capital of the Islamic Economy, Dubai offers specialised halal wellness that embraces other forms of wellness such as eco-wellness. This will attract the massive Asian and MENA audiences currently going to Central and Far East destinations.

Dubai aims to expand its tourism to Transit Tourism, its “On-the-go” wellness tourism boosted by same-day ‘in and out’ procedures that Dubai is already offering in dental and other cosmetic facilities.

There’s growing medical consensus that DNA testing and blood analysis can guide diet and lifestyle changes for weight loss, dermatology treatments, allergy treatments and more. Since DXH already welcomes many tourists facing these problems, it can boost its existing procedures with genetic evaluation

According to Dr. Yasser Moshref, CEO Premedion, the top concepts shaping the international medical wellness landscape include Thalasso therapy, medical beauty, detox and weight management. The top performing countries in this area are Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Thailand. The properties highlighted are the Thalasso Spa A-Rosa in Sylt Germany, Premedion Spa & Prevention Zhanijang, China with an Anti Aging Centre, the Premedion Spa & Prevention Alexandria, Egypt and in planning is the Premedion Spa & Prevention, Al Ahsa.

Dr. Abhishek Jain, VP, International Operations, WTS International sees clients looking for Integrative Wellness described as a mix of a conventional spa settings and modern clinical settings. Intergrative Wellness is the fusion of the authenticity of holistic treatment approaches with the effects  of non-invasive evidence based medicine. We have seen the formation of partnerships in this concept with Hyatt who acquired the Miraval Group & ‘Life In Balance” Spa Brand and Singapore Airlines with Canyon Ranch.

The increase in medical and wellness tourism indicates that well-being is no longer a health measure but  a life measure. It is drawing together partners in tourism and specialist medical-wellness providers to deliver more spa & wellness therapies and wellness holidays. Traditional and state of the art treatments are joining forces to bring health tourism as a lifestyle habit.

And as we discuss these two spectrums of health tourism, there is evidence of them uniting in the rise of dedicated wellness-medical properties such as the Waldhouse in Burgenstock, Switzerland and opening soon, The Corinthia in Dubai in 2020.

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The published definition of Medical Tourism is travel across international borders for the purpose of receiving medical care whereas Wellness Tourismis associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing personal wellbeing.

Healing hands

Therapeutic care

Reflections on the Industry: When the H in Holiday means Health

Whether it’s beach time, adventure or cruising the ocean waves, holidays are to relax, enjoy time out and to set aside the usual routine. But as we become more aware of our health, holidays take on a new meaning.

Today’s travelling consumers are expecting more. Conscious of the importance of health away from home, they seek to adopt a health component during their time away, whether it be mindfulness, detoxing, diet, a specialist treatment, rehabilitation, or simply to de-stress.

Health issues are often easier to tackle during a holiday in the hope of returning renewed and invigorated with new routines and attitudes to integrate into lifestyle changes.

Today’s health travelers now expect wellness options and activities readily available to them to enhance their holiday experience such as healthy dishes on menus, nature walks, early morning yoga and tai chi amongst other specialist classes which reflect the destination’s culture. They also expect to see signature treatments on the spa menu which offer an opportunity to sample local practises, resources and products.

In response, many leisure hotels and resorts have adapted to this changing attitude towards the “health holiday” versus the “fly & flop” holiday. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, for example, has integrated a wellness culture throughout its brand. http://www.fairmontmoments.com/spa-wellness. Breakfast health shots smooth in the new day, more seeds and grains are scattered around, gluten-free options are more readily available, pillow menus help sleep patterns while fitness centres are the norm.

In our smart world, health is monitored in many ways – fit-bits, i-watches, and phones. They measure our steps, heart-beat and calculate calories on menus, amongst other functions. But e-gadgets can be detrimental to our health, giving rise to digital detox programmes offered in specialist wellness retreats, enticing “e-guests” away from twitter, facebook, mobiles and laptops and instead to plug into the destination and set the mind free.

Poured into a bottle, moulded into soap, extracted as miracle cures – consumers believe local means genuine and authentic. This has opened up the opportunity to market home-grown products with labelled promises of curative powers. From oils for aromatherapy massages, natural herbs and plants for skin and digestive problems, many natural resources have been blended and branded as supplements to wellness holiday programmes.

The consumer is defining and driving the travel & health industry with a strong focus on fitness, mind & spiritual health and weight-loss in the form of preventative programmes and specialist health holidays. The travel industry is reacting to these changing attitudes with proactive actions. There is a rise of wellness programmes, yoga & meditation breaks, and spa packages. At the same time, there is a plethora of organic, locally produced skin and health products to complement in-house treatments.

Enter, medical tourism and the rise of Medical Spas – the H in holiday is stepping up to offer bespoke health holidays for individual needs in destinations around the globe.

Reflections on the Industry: Wellness Tourism is on the up

Wellness means different things to different people. Is it a spa weekend, walking in the forest, hugging trees, a meditation and yoga retreat, trekking with friends, a wellness cruise or a two week stay at a medi-spa? We all want to feel and look better and now an increasing number of consumer travellers see wellness as part of their holiday’s DNA. Wellness is no longer a niche sector.

Many destinations have jumped on the wellness stage, placing this segment of the industry firmly on the map as the key growth sector. It’s a big umbrella terminology. It crosses many themed holidays and retreats – spa, fitness, culture, spiritual, adventure and green tourism. Even spas retreats have changed and subdivided – the massage of years ago has had a cosmetic makeover resulting in many versions and styles of spa getaways.

Tourism businesses are adapting to the demands of the growing number of travelling consumers defined as wellness travellers. Visit Scotland www.visitscotland.org, for example, has published a review of industry trends and highlights self-development as its focus this year. According to their research, wellness tourism worldwide was worth £500bn in 2017, and has recently grown at more than twice the pace of tourism overall. With scenic vistas and healthy outdoor activities, they are offering holidays that provide “restorative recreation”. Being at one with nature, the destination naturally lends itself to themed retreats such as art workshops, survival training and creative writing.

Wellness, however, is not limited to land-based holidaying. Cruises lines have created itineraries to appeal to the wellness cruiser. AmaWaterways, www.amawaterways.com has a dedicated wellness host onboard its ships to keep the active sailor amongst us, busy, active and culturally enthused. There are bikes on board for guided rides along the towpaths and city tours during visits to cities and towns along the way. While ocean cruises such as Seaborn Cruises, www.seabourn.com has specific wellness programme for mindful sailing under the guidance of Dr Andrew Weil with thought provoking lectures and tailored treatments to integrate the concepts of wellness into lifestyle habits.

Island resorts are bringing in experts for exclusive specialist retreats such as a former professional ballet dancer, Grace Hurry, to host yoga & pilates holidays at the Niyama Private Islands in the Maldives, www.niyama.com which is part of Niyama’s ongoing programme of visiting practitioners from across the globe. The resort sees Dr Paolo Fernandes’ Longevity, Lymphatic Massage and Nutrition Programme

With sustainable tourism being a hot issue, Visit Scotland is promoting “green getaways” aimed at those who want to limit the impact on the environment. Tourism business are behind many environmental initiatives such as cleaning up beaches and helping poor neighbourhoods while airlines such as Ryanair aimito eliminate plastic cups and packaging on flights.

This type of holiday can also be an answer to over-tourism. Peaceful and more remote places lead the health traveller to less-know destination and away from the high traffic, traditional destinations and attraction that are usually on the bucket list – think historical attractions such as Peru’s Machu Picchu, and the floating city of Venice.

So, the wellness vacation is defining new products that are immersive, spiritual, experiential and essentially good for us, whatever one’s own definition. Driving this is the consumer who is looking to nourish the mind, recharge the body, enlighten the soul and return home well and balanced.

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