By Josephine Wawira, Jumia Travel
The year is ending on a high note, with most people checking off their lists for the achieved and not so well-done objectives set in January. On top of a majority’s list is in aspects of lifestyle, from eating healthy to staying fit. This is where the health and wellness tourism come in, a market estimated to grow to over $675 billion by end of 2017.
To capitalize on the health-conscious guests (both primary and secondary) with a high spending power, players in the hospitality sector have alleviated their offerings; from the simple in-room yoga mats to the state of the art workout facilities. In one of my previous articles – Hotel Fitness Centers, a new ‘gold’ in the hospitality industry – I noted that “most hotels have adopted to the trend and incorporated gym/fitness facilities in their properties, while those with existing ones have gone a notch higher to renovate in a bid to create a better impression.”
In addition, wellness travelers are also proactively pursuing authentic outdoor activities, that not only enhance their personal wellbeing but also add to their unique travel experiences. In this sense, besides offering accommodation, hotels are finding the necessity of incorporating outdoor packages, especially for group-guests. The demand has also given rise to adventure parks providing both tame and extreme activities to cater for all kinds of participants.
White-water rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, coasteering, mountaineering, and cliff jumping, are just some of the outdoor activities that mostly attract health travelers seeking to add fun to their wellness plan.
The global spa economy that earned $77.6 billion (1.1 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa) in spa facility revenues in 2015 – according to the Global Wellness Economy Monitor – is not to be ignored either. Quiet and tranquility is a major component of wellness, leading to the reinvention of activities such as yoga, massage, and sauna therapies among others.
With only a month to go to the end of 2017, wellness tourism will no doubt experience a further boost in 2018. Earlier this year, the Global Wellness Institute identified eight key trends that would shape the wellness industry in 2017 and beyond; including travel, fitness, spa, nutrition, beauty, medicine, technology, and architecture.