Travel: Sub-Saharan Africa

Amin & Co. - Wellness Tourism Marketing

Economic growth has helped make Sub-Saharan Africa the world’s fastest-growing market for wellness tourism, and North Africa the second fastest, according to a Stanford Research Institute report for Miami-based Global Wellness Institute.

The Stanford study covered Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, among others.

Wellness travel is travel for the purpose of promoting well being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities, according to Travelmarketreport.com.

In 2013, sub-Sahara saw 4.2 million wellness trips with visitors spending $3.2 billion on wellness. This was a $575-million increase over 2012.

This increase is partly due to economic growth of countries such as South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria, which all increased presence and demand of wellness players, TourismReview reports.

North Africa was the second fastest-growing area for wellness tourism, along with the Middle East. Though wealthier than sub-Saharan Africa, it had a slower rate of growth despite 7 million wellness trips and $7.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

A 2015 Trend Report by Spafinder identified some travel trends and made some predictions about how the market will evolve and what customers will want and expect for 2015 and coming years, TourismReview reports.

Here area few of the findings:

  • Spas are combining the concept of wellness with an old-but-new-again product: cannabis. After its liberalization in some North American states, high-end tours with luxury experiences are emerging.
  • In Africa and the Middle East, spas are increasingly enhancing wellness treatments with Islamic cures that go beyond hammams. They’re rediscovering the benefits of dust-baths, mud-baths,  and the factors, ingredients and experiences tied to local wellness culture, according to TourismReview.
  • Social fitness is becoming more about a sense of belonging to a community. Groups attend big fitness events but also visit venues such as traditional spas that offer special packages. This trend is seeing exponential growth by specialized tour operators, according to TourismReview.
  • The luxury trend in wellness at the most exclusive venues is not about celebrities but about experiences, TourismReview reports. New luxury means exotic and local — plenty of space and solitude. Less is more.
  • In 2015 expect a new ritual in travel: spas in airports. Air carriers offer arriving passengers wellness services in their lounges as a courtesy service for jet-lag recovery.

Europe and North America are leading the wellness tourism market, according to the Stanford Research Institute report. Asia ranks third, TourismReview reports.