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The Algarve could be transformed into a ‘Mecca’ for health and wellness travel - benefitting from major investment linked to the booming €600billion global industry - according to organisers of the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference.

Tourist development consultant Andrew Coutts said worldwide ‘wellness tourism’ spend is rising rapidly and is expected to surpass €900 billion by 2022, representing 18 percent of the global tourism market. Meanwhile, the GWI (Global Wellness Institute) predicts wellness tourism trips to grow by 8 percent annually reaching €1.2billion by 2022. 

The news comes ahead of the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference running at the Hilton Vilamoura Resort on Friday, September 27. 

A leading tourism event, it will be attended by Algarve Region Tourism Board (RTA) President João Fernandes and Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) President Francisco Serra.

Mr Coutts, CEO of the ILM group in Portugal, is urging the region to join forces now and create a sustainable development plan to harness the full potential of the global wellness movement.

“The Algarve is on the cusp of a transformation linked to the fast expanding ‘health and wellness’ tourism industry,” he said. “Europe is currently topping the polls as the most popular destination for health and wellness travel, which is terrific news for the Algarve. Our region is in a prime position and already benefits from a bounty of natural assets with strong supply chains and potential support services in areas including technology, sustainability and innovation. It has all the ingredients to become a ‘Mecca’ for health and wellness travellers worldwide.

“The wellness industry burst into mainstream consumer consciousness a few years ago. It is now a multi-billion-euro industry with businesses and governments piling investment into new strategies, products, experiences, and destinations. Wellness, hospitality, and travel are converging in diverse and unprecedented ways as businesses experiment with new partnerships and models to help travellers incorporate wellness into every aspect of their trips. The Algarve has perfect conditions for health, wellness and active travel as one of the sunniest destinations in Europe with easy access to beaches, oceans and countryside. This opens up opportunities for virtually all outdoor activities from water sports like surfing and kayaking to trail-running, hiking and restorative activities such as pilates and yoga. We are also witnessing a surge in professional sports related tourism with world class athletes and clubs increasingly looking to stage training camps in the Algarve.

Mr Coutts said the surge in ‘health and wellness’ travel is being influenced by a series of factors including an expanding global middle class and growing consumer demand for wellness lifestyles. A rising interest in experiential travel and increasing affordability of flights and travel options are pushing demand.

“Every year health and wellness travellers spend more than €600billion globally,” he said. “This is distributed among many segments of the tourism industry - from food and lodging, to activities, excursions, shopping, and other services. Within each segment, some expenditures may include wellness-focused activities, such as visiting a hot spring, getting a massage, or taking a meditation or fitness class. Other expenditures may be ‘generic’, such as transportation, general food and lodging, or buying souvenirs. As more consumers incorporate wellness into their lifestyles, there are more opportunities for all businesses to capture a share of the spend from these high-value tourists.

Taken from © The Portugal News



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