The global tourism industry is witnessing a significant rise in health and well-being tourism, as highlighted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Leaders from the public and private sectors recently convened at the UNWTO Conference on Education and Skills in Medical and Wellbeing Tourism held in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the potential and importance of this burgeoning sector were discussed.
The UNWTO emphasizes that health tourism offers a range of benefits to destinations, such as diversification, job creation, and support for local businesses, extending these advantages to rural communities. Secretary-General Pololikashvili stressed the vital role of skilled workers in this sector, as the expectations of tourists continue to rise, necessitating a higher level of service delivery.
In the larger context of health and tourism, UNWTO has been collaborating closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate measures and messaging throughout the pandemic. Acknowledging the deep interconnection between health, travel, and tourism in today’s globalized world, UNWTO is establishing the UNWTO Global Working Group on Health and Travel & Tourism. This initiative aims to draw lessons from the COVID-19 crisis, enhance resilience in the travel and tourism sector, and ensure preparedness for future challenges.
The growing size and relevance of health and wellbeing tourism present significant opportunities for destinations worldwide. By prioritizing education and skills development, investing in infrastructure, and fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, countries can fully tap into the potential of this thriving sector.
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