THE year is ending on a high note, with most people checking off their lists what they have achieved, or not, since in January.
On top of these lists are aspects of lifestyle – from eating healthy to staying fit.
This is where health and wellness tourism comes in, which is a market that is estimated to grow to over US$675 billion by end of 2017.
Essentially, in 2014 the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), as member of the Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF) drafted an occupational health and safety policy for the Namibian hospitality sector, with the technical support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German government.
This integrated blueprint policy for the hospitality sector covers all the sector’s health and safety needs in the workplace, outlining the commitment and action on occupational safety and health, and the prevention and management of HIV and other infectious and chronic diseases, which impact on the hospitality industry.
Whilst this blueprint works in favour of the industry, the operators in the sector need to take full advantage of the health concerns of traveller during the festive season.
To capitalise on health conscious guests (both primary and secondary), who have high spending power; hospitality sector players must try to elevate their offerings – from the simple in-room yoga mats to state-of-the-art workout facilities.
Globally, most hotels have adapted to the trend and incorporated gym/fitness facilities on 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 travellers 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 that provide both tame and extreme activities, in order 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 travellers, who are seeking to add fun to their wellness plan.
The global spa economy that earned US$77.6 billion (N$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 tranquillity is a major component of wellness, leading to the reinvention of activities, such as yoga, massage and sauna therapies, among others.
With only a fortnight 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 will shape the wellness industry in 2017 and beyond, including travel, fitness, spa, nutrition, beauty, medicine, technology and architecture.
Namibia should therefore increasingly take this into account, when developing its tourism offerings into the future.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015