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A Global Perspective

By: Abby Penning
Posted: October 17, 2008, from the November 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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page 5 of 8

Turning to the spa offerings from countries on the Asian continent, Ariss notes their continuing influence on treatment trends worldwide. “Asian trends have reverberated throughout the world for the years now,” she says. Traditional Chinese medicine, yoga techniques and Reiki treatments are just a few of the therapies that have originated in Asia and are experiencing a renewal of interest at spas in every country. And many of the traditional Asian treatments also pair nicely with the trends of natural and organic, as well as wellness.

As one country that has particularly capitalized on its resources and traditional therapies, India is seeing growth that nearly matches that of Dubai. “India is also a country that is growing exponentially in terms of spas,” says Ariss. “Their economy is growing as well, and they have a background and history with spa and spa-related therapies that really anchors them as a power now.”

The immense population of China has also created a desire to build the spa market there, but Ariss sees that country as currently more geared toward the cosmetic market. “It’s more of a question of social status in China,” she says. “Anything that is considered a luxury brand or has global name recognition or a lot of global equity is popular there. It’s all about them trying to make a larger social statement.”

Sheer numbers aren’t the only influencing factor in the Asian spa market, however. Ariss identifies Thailand as another hot spot in the region, and notes that it has given the world such distinct spa practices as Thai massage. Thailand has also worked to create its own unique spa image and experience—a beautiful, enriching, immersive atmosphere. “People going to India or Thailand are often going for that spiritual experience,” Ariss says. “That’s something a place like Dubai can’t offer.”

Emerging markets: Africa and South America. The spa industry has also inspired some developing nations to get into the mix, although many are just starting to get their feet wet in terms of creating their own spa identities, presence and trends. Two of the areas of the world seeing this particular part of the growth cycle are Africa and South America.