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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS


Forums for change


Six forums focused on diff erent sub-sectors within the global spa industry – from hot springs to retail – have been formed to help make advancements in the sector. Susie Ellis reports


S


everal years ago, the annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) introduced a series of forums to its agenda. The forums,


which have developed over time, are based around stakeholders with specifi c interests in six areas of the industry – namely destination spas, hot springs, education, hydrothermal facilities, retail and hotel spas. They’ve enabled colleagues and competi- tors of these sub-sectors to openly debate issues and exchange ideas and strategies. The overall goal is to discover what they can accomplish together versus working individually – and to ultimately drive change that will help the industry grow.


From some of these forums, taskforces


have evolved that allow for collaboration and progress to be made between the annual event. As we approach the eighth summit – due to take place in Marrakech, Morocco on 10-12 September – we take a look at what’s been discussed in these forums so far. We also outline what steps are being taken to address concerns/ issues in each of the fi elds.


Global Destination Spa Forum The 2013 Global Destination Forum focused on the role destination spas can serve in the wellness movement that’s emerging in response to the growing, global health crisis. Destination spas are often viewed


as the gatekeepers of wellness wisdom. They off er a huge array of alternative and medical-based therapies, alongside fi tness and healthy food – typically packaged up in holistic wellness programmes. It was noted that stakeholders have a


GSWS 2014 will be held in Marrakech 80 spa business handbook 2014


duty to highlight the existing evidence that demonstrates the health-giving benefi ts of various treatments, therapies and modalities they off er. In the future,


there’s a need to work with health professionals to help them understand the impact of destination spas. Another action step is to educate more of the world population about what a destination spa is and to highlight the benefi ts of their holistic approach to wellness. It was announced during the forum that


an independent organisation called the International Health and Wellness Alli- ance (IHWA) has been formed by leading destination spa operators – including Gwinganna in Australia, Rancho La Puerta in Mexico and Chiva-Som in Thailand. The IHWA’s goal is to create an online platform to help educate consumers about wellness and the role of destination spas. In addition, the GSWS may add a taskforce for destination spas/wellness retreats. Delivering longer-term wellness


programmes (after customers leave) – via follow-up wellness coaching, partnerships with urban spas and even social media – was identifi ed as a key future opportunity. There was also a call to create new entry points to destination spas including off ering more aff ordable options – three- to four-star versus fi ve-star.


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