At WTM London, experts urged mainstream destinations to explore the untapped potential within specialist and niche travel markets. Attendees were presented with fresh-to-market data by Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research for Euromonitor International, who identified eight types of travelers based on insights from 40,000 people across 40 countries.
Among the highlighted segments were individuals showing interest in health and holidays. The data revealed a fairly even distribution across regions, with a slight majority of men in the 30-44 age group identifying as wellness enthusiasts.
Yunus Gurkan, President of the Global Healthcare Travel Council, discussed the diverse segments of healthcare tourism, covering wellness and spa breaks, as well as tourism specifically for medical procedures and rehabilitation. Gurkan projected a significant growth in healthcare tourism, estimating that the market could be worth $1 trillion by 2030.
Erik Wolf, Founder and Executive Director of the World Food Travel Association, emphasized the importance of culinary reputation for travelers, noting that over 90% consider it before booking. Wolf clarified that food tourism extends beyond restaurants, encompassing food tours, tastings, and direct engagement with local makers.
Hafsa Gaher, Founder of the Halal Travel Network, emphasized the vital role of food in halal travel but highlighted the need for destinations to go further. She stressed the importance of providing facilities for Muslim travelers to pray, removing alcohol from hotel minibars, and creating a welcoming environment, particularly for women wearing hijabs.
Gaher highlighted the positive long-term growth profile for halal travel, driven by the increasing Muslim population, projected to exceed two billion by 2030. With 70% of Muslims under the age of 14, Gaher emphasized the importance of catering to tech-savvy, culturally immersed young travelers who seek experiences without compromising their faith.