The resort town of Noosa, along the Sunshine Coast, will be the backdrop for Australia’s first-ever Wellness Tourism Summit.
Taking place on 19-20 March at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort (pictured), the summit is convened by Katherine Droga, chair of the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), and aims to showcase the rapid growth in the wellness sector along with the opportunities for tourism businesses in Australia.
The two-day programme will reveal the latest research, consumer trends and best practice in wellness travel and tourism, with more than 20 leading wellness travel experts invited to speak on the main stage to share their insights into the growing wellness tourism sector.
Research carried out by the GWI values the wellness tourism sector at an impressive $639 billion a year in global visitor spend, with Australia receiving 10 million wellness trips a year from local and international visitors.
And at 6.5 per cent annual growth between 2015 and 2017, the wellness tourism sector is growing at more than twice the rate of general tourism and is one of the fastest growing segments in tourism overall.
Event highlights include a full day of wellness travel immersion with talks and panel discussions on the main stage, wellness experiences in breakout areas with lunch at the award-winning Noosa Beach House.
Droga – who is also founder of sustainable tourism consultancy Droga & Co and a former senior executive at Tourism Australia – says the Wellness Tourism Summit will be a chance for delegates to really understand the value of the wellness economy and the diversity within the sector.
“There are huge benefits to businesses engaging in wellness tourism. Wellness travellers often tread lightly, respect the environment, value local community connections, and help mitigate over-tourism issues that many destinations now face,” Droga says.
“Wellness travellers also assist a destination with seasonality flows, stay longer than regular tourists and often spend more.
“This means there’s a huge opportunity for operators to tap into the diverse sectors of what wellness travel actually means to the consumer. This ranges from extreme wellness – where hotels are including excursions such as wild swimming in Alpine lakes and mountain-top heli-yoga – to mental wellbeing and happiness, such as silence at wellness monasteries in Quebec or paddling in the pristine upper reaches of the Noosa Everglades, home to almost half of all bird species found in Australia.”
The Wellness Tourism Summit is supported by Tourism Noosa, Tourism Australia and Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort.