Today, Sri Lanka is eyeing the vast potential of wellness tourism in driving the country’s export performance. A global phenomenon rather than just a local one, ‘wellness’ comes in many different forms and manifestations. International travellers with wellness (or health) in mind look for services that are rooted in local traditions and natural assets. There is increasing demand for hotels with a health orientation as well as for facilities with a well-defined specialisation or concept.
According to the National Export Strategy which lists Wellness Tourism among major export products and services to be promoted over the next half a decade or so, Sri Lanka has distinct strategic advantages for the development of its wellness tourism sector. There is a clear synergy between global trends and Sri Lanka’s traditional health approaches. The country has natural and traditional endowments that can be used to foster a sustainable wellness tourism value chain that is deeply rooted in local communities and traditions.
At present, wellness tourism in Sri Lanka remains a nascent industry, focused on traditional medicine. It is complemented by a connected but separate segment focused on western medicine. Sector growth is private sector-led, with companies already cognizant of the demand for Ayurvedic wellness offerings and developing products in this segment. The fast-paced development of the overall tourism sector also offers a conducive environment in which companies can focus on wellness.
Overall, in the context of Sri Lankan exports, wellness tourism contains an element of tourism, ayurvedic treatments and western medicine. Assuredly, for wellness tourism, great prospects remain on the horizon.