Arabian Travel Market 2018: Spa industry in the region to further develop

ATM 2018


Data released by Colliers International ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018 has predicted that the number of five-star hotel spas in Dubai will rise by a CAGR of 10.7 per cent until 2021.

The Spa & Wellness Travel report predicted that the number of five-star hotel spas in Dubai will increase from 107 in 2017 to 157 in 2021, complementing the city’s hotel pipeline.


Recent notable spa openings include The Spa at Palazzo Versace Dubai and The Bulgari Spa, which will contribute to projected annual spa revenues in the emirate of $495 million by 2019, according to Visit Dubai.

Senior exhibition director, ATM, Simon Press commented: “Regionally, the spa sector is multi-faceted and sensitive to events and developments in many other sectors, including global health, beauty and wellness trends. In 2017 we saw focus increase across these areas and Dubai was quick to capitalise and innovate, with the debut of a number of luxury-branded hotel spas.

“However, spas are no longer associated exclusively with the luxury market. As a result, we see more choice at various price points, a diversification in treatments, competitive marketing techniques and an increase in the number of spa management courses available to professionals. In 2018 and beyond, we expect to see these trends converge, further cementing Dubai and the region’s reputation as a leading medical, wellness and health destination,” he added.

In Abu Dhabi, the average rate for a treatment is $94.75, compared to $107.28 in Dubai, with approximately 17 and 22 treatments sold per day, respectively. In terms of guest profile, spas in Abu Dhabi welcome more male and walk-in guests at 53 per cent and 67 per cent. In Dubai, 58 per cent of spa guests are female and 55 per cent of guests pre-book treatments.

In 2015, wellness trips to the GCC increased 44 per cent on 2013, with the number of spas increasing by 27 per cent. Oman and Bahrain led growth, while Bahrain also welcomed the highest rise in revenue over the same period, at 17 per cent.

The report came to the conclusion that such performance indicates a mature market that is more than capable of absorbing new supply. Putting this theory to the test is the UAE, which will welcome 83 new hotels in 2018, many featuring spa and wellness amenities. Meanwhile, across the Middle East, a further 500 new properties are due to open by 2020.

Press declared: “The predicted growth in spa inventory is closely tied to the region’s hotel pipeline. Yet, unlike hotels, the report shows spas enjoy a level of resilience to increased competition and, in part, this is due to their growing appeal to different demographics and income groups – from millennials to local residents. While this has been good for the sector, preserving the trend in 2018 and 2019 will require spas to offer a strong brand, unique treatments and continued focus on enhancing the guest experience. We are likely to see some performance fluctuations in 2018 due to the introduction of VAT, however, the region’s spas are poised for another strong year.”

Figures from the Global Wellness Institute have shed light on three key sectors that drive the $3.7 trillion global wellness industry: wellness Tourism, which generates $563 billion; beauty and anti-aging, generating $999 billion; and the spa segment, which contributes $99 billion.

Detox regimes, gold facials and app-based on-demand booking services are just some of the innovations to re-define wellness in the GCC over recent years. This year, the industry is expected to increasingly focus on medical spa services, lifestyle make-overs and sleep therapies.

Exhibitors in the Wellness & Spa lounge at this year’s ATM include: NG Hotels, L’Albereta SRL, Santani Resort and Spa and Chenot Palace Health Wellness Hotel.