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South African Spa Industry Matures

By: Denis Gathanju
Posted: April 28, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Librisa Spa treatment room

Indigenous essences are often used in the services offered at Librisa Spa.

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The South African spa industry has received a shot in the arm as the country’s tourism continues to grow year after year. With approximately seven million tourists visiting the southern African nation in 2007, the country is gearing up for an influx of additional visitors, with a total expected to climb to approximately 10 million, when the rainbow nation will play host to the FIFA World Cup for soccer, one of the world’s most-watched sporting festivals.

The industry is forecasted to increase by 8% this year, notes Garrow, when revenues are predicted to grow substantially, mainly because of the soccer bonanza. Day spas will hum the industry forward because they are projected to record an increased earning of approximately 20%.

Spas gain traction

Although a lot of noise is being made about the expected tourists, the South African spa industry draws its numbers and figures from local spa visitors. Currently, foreign spa visitors account for about one-fifth of the total spa visits made in 2008. “Although tourism accounts for a lot of revenue for our economy, the locals have proven to be frequent spa visitors, and they are coming from all walks of life,” notes Low. “Due to Zau Spa’s proximity to the two major cities, we have seen every type of person walk into our spa, from the homemaker living down the street who needs a break to South African celebrities and sporting personalities keen on grooming themselves or reinvigorating their minds and bodies.”

“The number of Caucasians is larger than the number of black South Africans making the trip to the spa,” states Marisa Dimitriadis, managing director of Spa Consultants, a Johannesburg-based spa consultancy firm. “However, the number of black South African spa-goers is rising more and more.”

According to Marsden, “We cater to domestic clients because they are ever-present. The majority of our clients seek value destinations and are middle class. We also cater to foreign tourists visiting the Johannesburg and Pretoria regions.”