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International Trends: Spa Growth in Singapore

By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 20, 2007, from the July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The spa industry in Singapore is flourishing. The country is positioned as the urban spa hub of Southeast Asia by its tourism board, despite its relatively small size and reported economic downturn.
        The island city-state of Singapore is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and consists of one main island area of 263 square miles surrounded by 63 islets. In Sanskrit, its name—Singapura—translates to “lion city.” Aside from Monaco, it is the most densely populated independent country in the world, with a population of 4.48 million.1 And tourism here is huge. In 2006, Singapore saw 8.85 million international visitor arrivals.2

Facts and figures
      Part of Singapore’s spa explosion is due in part to this increase in tourism. According to Intelligent Spas’ Spa Industry Profile Singapore 2003–2008, the number of spa facilities has grown 63.2% since 2003. Of these, 58% were day spas, defined as “a business offering spa treatments based on authentic water-based therapies and practices by qualified personnel in a professional and relaxing environment,” and 14% were located in hotels and resorts. The number of spa businesses is forecasted to increase 11% by the year 2008.
      According to the same study, the average indoor area of a spa facility in Singapore is 6,491 square feet. Of this, 54% of the total spa space is dedicated to treatment rooms, which means an average of 8.7 rooms per facility. Of these, an average of 4.7 are used as combination wet/dry treatment rooms.
      Spa menus in Singapore spas are comparable to those in the United States and around the world. Of those surveyed:

  • 97% practice aromatherapy
  • 95% offer facials
  • 93% offer body wraps
  • 87% offer Swedish massage
  • 86% provide eye treatments
  • 83% provide baths with water and/or air jets
  • 80% offer waxing services
  • 59% offer stone therapy
  • 50% offer laser services
  • 42% offer programs, classes and consultations
  • 23% offer specialist services  

      Prices for standard treatments are also equivalent to, if not less than, those of comparable services in the United States. According to the Intelligent Spas’ study, 60-minute body wraps were priced, on average, from $71; 60-minute massages from $64; and 60-minute facials from $64.

Spa journal
      I wanted to see this urban spa hub up close and personal, so I spent a week in Singapore visiting some of the top spas and

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