WORLDWIDE spa trends among travellers for 2009 are reaching whole new levels – there are trains offering fully equipped gyms and spas, airlines dish out in-flight massage treatments and spa showers, and health and wellness oriented cruises are now popular options for all ages.
“What began as a novelty has turned into big business that uniquely targets today’s captive, over stressed traveller,” said Cassandra Cavanah, executive director at SpaFinder.
“Southern India’s Golden Chariot train already features an onboard Ayurvedic centre with a fully equipped gym and spa. Almost every major airport now boasts a spa; London’s Heathrow Airport alone has four to choose from! Cruise ships are broadening their health and wellness options beyond the spa facility itself: Crystal Cruises offers mind-body-spirit cruises and Disney has joined the trend by offering a ‘detox for weight loss’ programme.”
SpaFinder is a media company that conducts promotion and research for the global spa marketplace. It also saw another clear ‘macro’ trend emerging: the interweaving of medicine and spas, with spas poised to increase their roles in wellness and healthcare, while on the other hand, hospitals had started to embrace spa like offerings and hospitality.
“As the expensive, ‘sickness-oriented’ western healthcare model comes under intense review, spa innovation and influence on both traditional and alternative/complementary medical fronts is growing,” said Cavanah.
Consumers have become increasingly receptive to preventative wellness and using effective non-western therapies and as a result, says Cavanah, spas are seizing this opportunity. “The spa-medicine relationship has never been so rich or strong.”
She found that spas in the Middle East continued to excel in their development of medical facilities, and in comparison to the rest of the world in terms of price she felt that the spas here would be quick to react to general price indicators and likely stay competitive.
The Middle East continues to attract spa goers from all over the world; its most luxurious spas include the Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah, Banyan Tree Resort in Bahrain, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, the new Mandara Spa at Monarch Dubai and Atlantis Spa at The Palm.
She believed that spas in the Middle East were not immune to the global downturn but many of the luxury properties here would still benefit from their appeal to the super wealthy as this demographic was “not necessarily as affected by the current downturn”.
“In general, the spa industry is focused on positively moving through the economic crisis and is firmly focused on raising awareness of the wellness and healthful aspects of spa going. What better time to take care of yourself than during an extremely stressful period?”
by Cheryl Mandy
NOTE: The International Spa Show in London that was due to take place in March in Olympia has been cancelled.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.