Nearly 20% of Indonesia’s vast 410 sq m pavilion at ITB Berlin is dedicated to health and wellness, encompassing 90 tourism organizations from tour operators to hoteliers. Despite difficult global economic conditions, Indonesia looks forward to welcoming between 8.5 million to 9 million tourists in 2013 – an increase of up to 12.5% from 2012 – and wellness and medical travel is a vital part of such strong tourism demand. The second Indonesian Wellness and Medical Tourism Fair held in Jakarta in February reflects the wellness boom, as does the Indonesian government’s recent commitment to further develop health tourism among public and private stakeholders to create the Indonesia Wellness and Healthcare Tourism working team.
Wellness and spa resorts are expected to hugely boost the health tourism industry in Indonesia, and two local spa treatment methods – Java spa and Bali spa – dominate the global industry. “I think we have to take a look at some of the ways our business in the health sector run in order to increase our market share,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, Mari Elka Pangestu, said last November of a tourism sector where global revenues rose 20-30% between 2010-2012, despite a recession across much of Europe.
Healing Hotels Of The World (HHOTW), which is exhibiting at ITB Berlin, is a rising brand that symbolizes the importance of wellness tourism. Three of its 81 partner hotels that promise to “nourish your soul, fill you with vibrancy inside out, and bring serene peace to your mind,” are located in Bali, Indonesia, the island synonymous with the best in traditional spa and massage treatments. The COMO Shambhala, for example, is a residential health retreat occupying 23 acres on a jungle-covered riverbank that includes The Source, a natural spring known locally for its healing properties. Inside its 31 suites, 5 residences, and 10 villas, a team of consultants and specialists offer special diets, activities and health education. Meanwhile, Bali’s Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa – also part of the HHOTW portfolio – was awarded 2011 Destination of the Year and 2012 Eco-Spa of the Year at the AsiaSpa Awards. The healing-based sanctuary’s programming and activities – yoga, martial arts, meditation, blessing ceremonies – take place against a tropical river landscape, while the spa rituals are rich in tradition, using nature’s elements and local village techniques.
The wellness sector in Indonesia is vast, with some 4,500 spa therapists having received certification from the Indonesian Education and Culture Ministry in 2012. Many of these wellness and health tourism professionals are also working in wellness centers across Europe, America, and Asia, and some are on show at the ITB Berlin Indonesia pavilion. As Indonesian Director General of Tourism Marketing, Esthy Reko Astuty, said at ITB Berlin on Wednesday, wellness is the perfect complement to Partner Country Indonesia’s Heart Matters theme. “We want to show the world the richness of our tourism which brings together its nature and people in harmony,” she said.
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