The $500 billion global wellness-tourism industry now has its own association. The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) was recently launched as a not-for-profit, privately held organization established by a group of seasoned wellness-industry executives designed to serve the growing travel sector.
“Our mission is clear and concise,” says cofounder and chairman Andrew Gibson, vice president of wellbeing, Accor Hotels. “We plan to support and further the growth and development of the wellness-tourism industry through networking, education, communication and marketing.”
The association will be a network constructed of qualified members of the wellness-tourism industry. Membership will be open to qualifying destination marketing organizations, hotels and resorts, destination spas, tour operators, travel advisors, wellness-educators, and others with an interest in supporting the industry as well as shaping its future and sustainability.
WTA’s first tourism office member, the Monaco Government Tourist Office, will be represented by Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco’s director, North America. The wellness-history of this city-state dates back to 1860 and the Etablissement des Bains, Monaco’s first baths where people traveled to benefit from the curative powers of the mediterranean.
According to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, the wellness-tourism sector is a $563 billion industry, growing faster than the tourism industry itself. “It makes perfect sense to have our own association,” says WTA cofounder and president Anne Dimon, founder and CEO of traveltowellness.com. “Especially since there is some confusion with consumers and travel agents as to what constitutes legitimate wellness-travel.”
Dimon further explained to American Spa that wellness-tourism as it is known today is a relatively new sector of the tourism industry, and that people and businesses in the space are still learning and continuing to develop. Because of that, WTA plans to focus greatly on education, providing a number of educational programs and networking opportunities to its members.