Travelers have long visited Africa to see its wildlife and other natural glories, but as the continent sees a surge in international visitors, some are coming for another local specialty – Ubuntu – or African wellness.
“Africa as a holiday destination is growing, also in the wellness industry,” said Elaine Okeke-Martin, founder of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa, at the ITB in Berlin this week.
The UNWTO’s most recent World Tourism Barometer showed international arrivals in all of Africa accelerated 7.8 percent in 2017 up from 7.6 percent in 2016, or 62 million international arrivals. Of these, sub-Saharan Africa generated the largest number of travelers with 40.7 million.
Africa’s wellness industry combines both conventional and traditional medicine – which is over 4,000 years old – unique plants and treatments. The philosophy of Ubuntu influences the industry.
“African wellness is Ubuntu – which means compassion and humanity,” Okeke-Martin said.
Okeke-Martin explained that despite the ongoing difficulties on the continent, there’s been a lot of progress in developing the wellness industry in Africa.
"Africa's uniqueness, resources and population are an asset," she said. "The wellness industry is the fastest growing industry in the world and with the right infrastructure, governance and education, the continent will grow, but more importantly become a wellness destination."
“Already, we see a lot of urban spas, hotels, boutiques coming up,” she added.
She remained positive at the future prospects of Africa’s wellness industry, seeing how the sector can also grow by offering it on safaris for example.
“On your safari, you will experience Ubuntu. Embrace it,” she said.
Photo: Eros Banaj
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted. Jabeen Bhatti is reporting exclusively for 4Hoteliers.com at ITB Berlin 2019 - www.4Hoteliers.com/itb.
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