Industry Shock as ISPA Closes European and Asia Chapters

Many members of the spa industry are reeling from the revelation that the European and Asian chapters of ISPA will cease existence as of September 12th, 2003. The announcement was made by ISPA President Jeffrey Kohl, Spa Director of Princess Cruises, who said; “The move creates unified voice for global spa industry”. However, the board of directors of the European Chapter of ISPA has resigned in protest at the International Spa Associationå‘s unexpected decision to close ISPA Europe.

Commenting on their behalf, ISPA Europe’s marketing chair Mark Silver, who is remaining as a director in order to deal with the paperwork involved in the closure, says; “The directors of the European chapter of ISPA Europe are shocked and saddened by the decision that the Americans have taken. We believe very strongly that there is an unquestionable need for a European spa industry association and are working together to see where we can go from here. ISPA Europe has been very successful and it’s a question of how we can take that and develop it further. Obviously, these are early days and there is much to be discussed but we hope to be able to make a further announcement in the next couple of weeks.”

I suspect this may be a great loss to the European spa market, not least because of the unique character and intimacy that our industry professionals experience at the European gathering. So I look forward to seeing you all in Stockholm, at what looks set to be the very last European ISPA Congress.- Ed.


The word from ISPA America, is that the International SPA Association has taken an integral step forward on the path to becoming a stronger international association for spa professionals. By integrating the current chapter model, ISPA will now expand member benefits worldwide and take them to the next level.


“In the early days of ISPA, the chapter model was essential to the growth of the association and becoming a truly global organisation,” said ISPA President Jeff Kohl. “Now, in the 21st century, the organisation is large enough that a chapter model is no longer the most effective way to provide the best value and benefits of membership. We can now provide incredible benefits to members worldwide. “

ISPA will provide members worldwide with the tools they say they need the most - regional-specific research and educational/networking opportunities. The financial support ISPA has been providing the chapters can now be used to fund research outside North America to help strengthen the global spa industry. Beginning in 2003, ISPA will expound upon its reputation for solid industry studies by providing spa-goer research in various countries throughout the world.

ISPA communicated this information to members through e-mails and faxes in mid-March. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive. “I have spoken with several members recently and one European member stands out in particular,” said ISPA Executive Director Lynne Walker McNees. “Essentially, he asked why we hadn’t done this a long time ago - it just makes more sense.”

McNees went on to say that members are excited about the prospect of receiving regional-based research. “They want to be able to invest their money in an association that will provide them with the business tools they need,” she said. “And this is the direction ISPA is taking - this is what the members want.”

Although specific regions elicit different needs, members are saying they want to be seen as a united body, not segregated by chapters within the association. This gives ISPA a stronger front as well as the ability to create alliances with existing organisations for additional industry support. ISPA is also exploring partnering with existing conferences to provide credible spa tracks. 


Have Your Say!

How do you feel about the closure of the ISPA chapters?

Is there an unquestionable need for a European spa industry association?


Is this an integral step forward on the path to becoming a stronger international association for spa professionals?


Let me know…

The editor, Spas Weekly - [email protected]