Global Wellness Tourism Congress issues recommendations

Clearly emphasising the benefits of wellness tourism, using the right language when communicating with consumers and stressing the economic strengths of the segment have been highlighted as key factor for the continued growth and success of the wellness tourism sector. 

The recommendations were made at the inaugural Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC) roundtable discussion, held in London earlier this month and hosted by Susie Ellis, chairman and chief executive of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit – which organises the GWTC – and GTWC executive Anni Hood. 

The roundtable discussion was attended by wellness and tourism industry leaders from around the world, including representatives of tourism ministries and organisations in the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Finland and Morocco. The World Travel & Tourism Council and global healthcare provider Bupa were also present at the event, held at The Dorchester hotel.  

Attendees underlined the necessity of educating the general public, governments and the wider tourism industry about the benefits of wellness travel. The importance of finding the right tone and language when communicating with consumers, including avoiding the use of  “wellness tourism,” a term seen as failing to resonate with people outside the sector, was also highlighted. 

Emphasising that it can be an affordable form of travel and avoiding preaching to consumers about the health benefits of wellness travel were other communication recommendations to come out of the discussion. Filipe Silva, director of the Portuguese National Tourism Office in the UK, said: “[The industry shouldn’t preach about health] because few people are interested in that. Talk about having fun and make wellness tourism a core part of an enjoyable, aspirational, lifestyle.” 

Attendees, which included Enrique Ruiz de Lera, director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, Majida Chtioui, trade manager for the Moroccan National Tourist Office for the UK & Ireland and James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England, also advised stressing the economic potential of the wellness tourism sector and the jobs it creates, when communicating with representatives of health and tourism ministries. 

Other key aspects brought to attention at the roundtable discussion was the importance of each country findings its own wellness tourism USP, and of creating the education infrastructure required to people the industry with skilled and qualified professionals. 

Two further roundtable sessions, in New York and Washington, are planned to take place within the next few months.