Madeira Wellness Tourism Conference Illustrates Country's Destination Potential


Funchal, Madeira–Delegates at the recent Rise and Relevance of Wellness Tourism conference held in Funchal, Madeira heard that, “Wellness tourism could be the future for the Madeira travel and hospitality industry.”

Leading international speakers from the travel, hospitality and wellness sectors who addresses the conference, illustrated the vast potential and growth being seen in wellness tourism and highlighted how, by embracing the significant rise in interest and demand for wellness tourism, Madeira could become a leading holiday destination for the sector.

Speakers at the conference included Barbara Cassani CBE, former CEO of British Airways budget airline Go! and best known for successfully spearheading London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic games; Thierry Malleret, leading global economist and co-founder of the Monthly-Barometer, Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute and Steve Dunne, chairman of United Kingdom travel marketing consultancy Brighter Group. The conference was lead and moderated by Anni Hood, founder and director of Wellness Business Consultancy.

The key theme, which was apparent in all presentations, revolved around the need for collaboration within the Madeira trade and the creation of a strong, united foundation and a sense of urgency for a robust, forward moving strategy.

Setting the scene for delegates, wellness guru Susie Ellis explained how Global Wellness Institute research released in 2013 was the first to size and analyze wellness tourism, initially finding it was a $439 billion global market. Only 12 months later, refreshed GWI research now shows that wellness travel is a $494 billion industry, with a 12% growth rate year-over-year, significantly more than the nine percent initially predicted. Ellis stated, “Madeira has a great opportunity to capture more of this large, growing consumer travel market that seeks vacations that refresh and revitalize. Madeira is at the right place at the right time, your moment, is now.”

Thierry Malleret gave wider context to the growth of wellness tourism, saying, “In a global economic environment characterized by unsustainable fiscal situations, health care, inflation and over-leverage, countries and businesses have an incentive to promote wellness.” He also underlined his belief that, given the convergence of trends, in the future, wellness may become compulsory, and “Madeira has an abundance of opportunity, just waiting to be seized.”

Marketing expert Steve Dunne supported the idea of the potential for Madeira: “Wellness tourism is the category to watch in the coming years as the stress and physical toll of living and working in the 21st century impacts people’s lives more and more. Madeira epitomizes the perfect wellness tourism destination with its amazing range of activities–from hiking to canyoning and spa treats to dolphin watching—add to that the quality of its air and unique ambience.”

And speaker Barbara Cassani drew parallels between the cohesion and united camaraderie of the public and private sector in London’s Olympic bid and the need for a similar outlook in Madeira, moving forward: "To achieve a big goal, everyone must pull together to create a vision and step-by-step, make it a reality. London did this by working together to win the Olympic Games in 2012. I think Madeira can achieve similar success by working collaboratively to becoming a world leader in Wellness Tourism.”

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