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Dubai to lead regional growth in spas as more than 500 hotels open across the Middle East by

The number of 5-star hotel spas in Dubai is on track to increase by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.7% to 2021, according to data released by Colliers International ahead of the 25th edition of Arabian Travel Market, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, from April 22nd – 25th, 2018.
According to the report, Spa & Wellness Travel, produced exclusively for ATM, the number of 5-star hotel spas in Dubai will increase from 107 in 2017 to 157 in 2021, in close correlation with the emirate’s hotel pipeline. High profile openings over recent months include The Spa at Palazzo Versace Dubai and The Bulgari Spa, which will contribute to projected annual spa revenues in the emirate of US495million, by 2019, according to Visit Dubai.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “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,” Press added.  
In the report, Colliers analysed data from spas representing 369 treatment rooms across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, highlighting nuances in demand and revenue trends.
In Abu Dhabi, the average treatment rate is AED348, compared to AED394 in Dubai, with approximately 17 and 22 treatments sold per day, respectively. In terms of the guest profile, spas in Abu Dhabi welcome more male and walk-in guests at 53% and 67%, whereas in Dubai, 58% of spa guests are female and 55% of guests pre-book treatments. 
In 2015, wellness trips to the GCC increased 44% compared to 2013, while the number of spas increased 27%, with Oman and Bahrain leading growth. Bahrain also saw the highest increase in revenue over the same period, at 17%.
The report concluded that such performance indicates a mature market capable of absorbing new supply. Testing this, the UAE will welcome 83 new hotels in 2018, many featuring spa and wellness amenities and, across the Middle East, a further 500 new properties are due to open by 2020. 
“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,” Press continued.
According to figures from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), three key sectors 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. However, in 2018, it is expected the industry will shift to offer more tangible health benefits with an increased focus on medical spa services, lifestyle make-overs and sleep therapies. 
Exhibitors in the Wellness & Spa lounge at ATM 2018 will include NG Hotels, L’Albereta SRL, Santani Resort and Spa and Chenot Palace Health Wellness Hotel.
ATM 2018 has adopted Responsible Tourism as its main theme and this will be integrated across all show verticals and activities, including focused seminar sessions, featuring dedicated exhibitor participation.
ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 in 2017, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over four days.
Celebrating its 25th year, ATM 2018 will build on the success of this year’s edition, with a host of seminar sessions looking back over the last 25 years and how the hospitality industry in the MENA region is expected to shape up over the next 25.

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