Wellness Tourism Worldwide
has issued the phase one report of the 4WR: Wellness for Whom, Where and What? project.
The 4WR: Wellness Travel 2020 is a research project aimed at forecasting the state of wellness tourism by 2020 in three categories:
• who (consumers
• where (countries offering wellness tourism products)
• what (types of wellness tourism products).
4WR collected information from 140 stakeholders from wellness, tourism, spa and healthcare industries in over 50 countries worldwide.
The report is divided into two sections: Part one describes the current status of wellness tourism, and Part two offers industry perceptions and trends shaping wellness tourism by 2020 (Part two will be published in mid-August).
The top 11 areas of wellness tourism are-
• Beauty treatment
• Sport and fitness
• Leisure and recreational baths
• Spa and wellness hotels
• Yoga and meditation
• Nutrition and detox
• Spiritual and wellness festivals
• Occupational wellness
• Spa cruises
• New age
Within wellness tourism are many cultural and geographic differences both of the people and destination countries. Traditions such as yoga and the availability of natural assets such as thermal water help determine who goes where. Services offered vary greatly from region to region. Natural healing is to the fore in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. In the USA and Canada the emphasis is on medical travel for treatment. Traditional and complementary treatment is the most important in the Far East while spiritual tourism dominates in Asia. There is a section of the report that offers pie charts for 12 regions. For each what it shows is what resources are available within very broad sections such as spa/ wellness and hospitals/hotels.
Medical and wellness tourism has a tendency to exist in a vacuum, distancing itself from world events and normal tourism. Where the report does hit an important note is in stressing that both are just element of global tourism and that there is no simple division between medical/wellness tourism and other tourism as they are so inter-related that many elements are impossible to untangle.
The World Tourism Organization
’s latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer says that international tourist arrivals grew by 4.5% in the first four months of 2011, with growth in all regions with the exception of the Middle East. Global tourism continues to consolidate the recovery of 2010 despite the impact of recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the tragic events in Japan, which are temporarily affecting travel flows to these regions.
Between January and April 2011 destinations worldwide recorded 268 million international tourist arrivals, some 12 million more compared to the 256 million registered in the same period in 2010. Europe exceeded expectations and posted the highest growth in the first four months of 2011. Destinations in Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe performed particularly well. Growth in Asia and the Pacific was in line with the world average, but slightly below previous prospects. Asia, and in particular North-East Asia, suffered the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which affected both its inbound and outbound travel as well as intra-regional travel from other markets. In the Americas, international tourist arrivals increased by 5%, driven by the strong results of South America, which contrasted with the below average growth of North and Central American destinations. The Middle East and North Africa have been considerably affected by recent developments.
UNWTO maintains its forecast for an increase in international tourist arrivals in 2011 at between 4% and 5%, slightly above the long-term average and in line with previous assessments. The developments in the Middle East, North Africa and Japan are not expected to significantly alter the global forecast.