The pandemic is fueling Asia-Pacific travelers’ appetites for wellness tourism, making the region shine for European destinations keen to tap into the flourishing sector, reports Marissa Carruthers.
European destinations hope to attract elite Asia-Pacific travelers seeking wellness tourism once travel resumes.
As the wellness movement took off before the pandemic, it is expected to skyrocket once borders reopen and travel-hungry tourists seek vacations to balance body and soul after many months of containment. Preparing for this rebound, destinations across Europe are lining up carefully selected wellness programs targeting Asia-Pacific markets.
Encouragingly, a recent study by ILTM and Barton found that Asia-Pacific travelers are not only looking for wellness-focused travel in the region, but everywhere they go.
According to the study, wealthy Asia-Pacific travelers spend US $ 2.4 billion on wellness activities while traveling, compared to US $ 9.6 billion among global HNW travelers. Overall Asia-Pacific spending on this is US $ 5.1 billion, compared to US $ 23.7 billion worldwide.
Chinese international travelers spent around $ 1.7 billion annually on wellness activities, or 33% of total spending in Asia-Pacific. The country’s outward expenditure on HNW amounts to US $ 799 million.
Jessica Rideout, spokesperson for VisitScotland’s China and Emerging Markets department, said that before the pandemic, Scotland enjoyed an annual increase in the number of Chinese visitors, which positioned it as the main developing market for Scotland. Scotland.
The destination is currently preparing for China in anticipation of the reopening of the market’s borders. Rideout said, “China will lead our marketing and we are looking to rebuild what we already had before the pandemic with China.”
She added that India, South Korea, Japan and Australia are also strong markets in Asia-Pacific. More effort will be put into promoting Scotland in the emerging markets of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, with the wellness program featured heavily in promotional campaigns. As soon as possible, VisitScotland will partner with VisitBritain to jointly organize familiarization trips to key source markets in Asia-Pacific.
In 2019, VisitScotland launched a general wellness campaign in response to growing global demand. Realizing its ever-increasing potential in the wake of Covid-19, in June it launched an aquatic wellness campaign to push the activities that take place on its thousands of kilometers of coastline, lochs and rivers.
Rideout remarked: “In response to the pandemic, new areas have been created in terms of well-being and this will be very important in the future. With the great Scottish outdoors, fresh air and plentiful water, well-being is highly valued for us.
As a playground for the rich and famous, Monaco, on the luxurious French Riviera, is committed to continuing to tap into the growing number of elite travelers to Asia-Pacific in search of getaways. restorative.
Benoit Badufle, who represents the Tourism and Congress Authority of the Government of Monaco in Asia, said: “Monaco has positioned itself as a leading global destination in medical and wellness tourism. The demand for this type of tourism is expected to grow once people can travel again, and we are valuing Monaco’s offer.
In July, hotels in Monaco recorded 70% occupancy compared to 39% in 2020. Visitors were mainly national, Belgian and Swiss, with American and Middle Eastern customers as well. Badufle predicts that once the Asia-Pacific borders reopen, the destination will welcome arrivals from the Asia-Pacific region, including China.
Asia-Pacific is also important for Spain. Australia and New Zealand have traditionally been strong performers, with Thailand and Indonesia showing signs of growth ahead of the pandemic. The future promotion will also target Vietnam and Brunei.
The destination is also pushing its wellness program, with 112 spa zones across the country. The northwestern region of Galicia is renowned for its high-end spa experiences, southern Spain is renowned for its facials, while Valencia in the southeast has recently started promoting its variety of health and wellness offers.
Vien Cortes, Regional Market Analyst for Turespaña, said: “We are very strong in wellness tourism and offer unique experiences. The spa concept in Spain is very different from what we see in Southeast Asia and is more focused on the therapeutic side, which is interesting for visitors to Asia-Pacific.
Switzerland Tourism is also stepping up its wellness orientation and is targeting the Asia-Pacific market. Batiste Pilet, Director of Switzerland Tourism for South East Asia, said: “As consumers become more aware of their health, tourism is also being impacted by this change. As a result, we have launched a health tourism campaign ranging from spa and wellness to medical travel. “
He added that as a long-haul market, the Asia-Pacific region is one of Switzerland’s most important source markets for wellness and medical tourism. China is the main focus, where overseas wellness and medical travel will be a “booming trend” after Covid.
In 2020, Switzerland Tourism launched a campaign in China, based on feedback from medical and hotel institutions which noted growing demand. Pilet noted that there had also been an increasing demand from Southeast Asia for programs in which Switzerland is strong, such as drug addiction and rehabilitation.
Pilet said: “We expect this segment to experience a boom (post lockdown) as consumers have never been so health conscious and the cleanliness, reliability and natural beauty of Switzerland are more attractive values than never.”