Wellness Tourism set to drive African economic development

Tourism is playing a huge role in Africa ́s development process. It acts as an engine for inclusive growth and economic development and can also complement development strategies aimed at fostering economic diversi cation and structural transformation. Within this context, Elaine Okeke Martin, founder of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA), will give a presentation at the ITB Berlin Convention looking at the future of African Wellness Tourism as well as trends, opportunities and challenges. We asked her to tell us more about her presentation.

This presentation looks at the uniqueness of Africa through its resources and will give transformation dimensions to Africa’s Wellness Tourism potential and its trends, drivers, opportunities and challenges. It will also explore the potential of a continent whose population will rise to 2.5 billion in 2050 and more than 4 billion in 2100 according to the UN. Traditional African medicine features diverse ancient healing systems around 4,000 years old. Here, we take a closer look at how these practices are still going on today and how validating conventional health services and integrating traditional medicine into health systems can support health in Africa and lessen the burden on governments; and how modern day companies are nding innovative ways to use these medicinal plants in their products.


What’s different about the spa/ wellness scenario in Africa, and how is it evolving?

Travel patterns to Africa are changing, and we showcase what that looks like, what countries are the wellness destinations for 2019 and what countries are investing in Wellness tourism. Also we see entrepreneurs and organisations creating African-style wellness activities.

Will you be talking about any best practices? If so, can you give us a brief foretaste?

We will be talking about African traditional treatments such as regional massages in terms of country/ethnicity, bene ts, products and hygiene. As for best practice, we will discuss appropriate staf ng levels and products. Products used in the provision of spa treatments should be organic and/or natural and biodegradable in nature. They should also be ethically sourced and manufactured, without exploitation of people or the environment. How bright is the future of the industry on the African continent? Africa ́s uniqueness, resources and population are an asset. The Spa & Wellness industry is the fastest growing industry in the world and with the right infrastructure, supply, governance and education the continent will grow, but more importantly become a wellness destination.

Who should come to your presentation?

Anyone investing in tourism in Africa and African governments. It’s an inspiring presentation which shines a light on what’s available in Africa Spa & Wellness today but also on what is to come if the right investments are made long term.

Date: March 7, 2019
Time: 1:25pm-1.45pm
Location: City Cube, Auditorium A3

Photo: Elaine Okeke Martin Founder of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA)