Wellness in the wilderness: African tourism lends itself to wellness travel

The WTM Global Trends Report 2016 released recently in association with Euromonitor International, reveals that Africa’s tourism industry is ideally placed to benefit from current interests in wellness travel. According to the report, safari holidays – one of Africa’s most important segments – are increasingly including yoga, spa, and meditation as part of the itinerary.
Wellness in the wilderness: African tourism lends itself to wellness travel
©Marina Pissarova via 123RF
Wellness in the wilderness

The idea of “wellness in the wilderness” also resonates with travellers seeking unique and authentic experience, resulting in a demand for spiritual travel with an adventure component.

Furthermore, the Global Wellness Summit found that in 2014, wellness travel – defined as travel with a purpose of improving health and wellbeing – was growing at 74% more than regular global travel.

Another factor in the rise of Africa’s tourism is the emphasis on sustainable and reduced footprint holidays, with increasing importance placed on ensuring the benefits of tourism are directly and indirectly shared with the local economy.

Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International head of travel, said: “Time spent with loved ones, including oneself, was consistently ranked as most important by respondents in our 2015 Global Consumer Trends Survey. Time is becoming crucial in a world where everything moves fast, so a safari in the middle of nowhere with loved ones is the ultimate form of wellness travel.”

Mindfulness travel

Mindfulness travel is a fairly new concept that looks to capitalise on the emotional and spiritual benefits of tourism. It is complementary to the wellness trend and is another opportunity for Africa.

South Africa and Kenya are embracing this trend, but Euromonitor International believes the entire region could benefit. The great animal migrations seen across Botswana and Tanzania could be the focus of a wellness or mindfulness travel experience.

World Travel Market, senior director, Simon Press said: “Wellness in the wilderness combines a number of emerging travel and consumer trends, and Africa lends itself to adventure and relaxation in a natural environment which can also satisfy the demand from travellers for a sustainable and responsible experience.

“The Africa region at WTM London 2016 will showcase a number of suppliers and destinations combining safaris and wellness, many of which are at the forefront of what is an increasingly important segment.” WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn).