A groundbreaking initiative that aims to make English the international language for the spa industry will be launched at World Travel Market this week as part of its Spa, Health and Wellness focus.
Working with the British International Spa Association (BISA) and the Spa Research Fellowship, there will be three free seminars on this flourishing growth sector.
This will include the Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO), who is once again linking with AHAVA Essential Dead Sea Treatments to bring delegates the benefits of the world’s oldest natural spa, the Dead Sea.
Robert Czik, Managing Director of spa product manufacturer SpaFind Skincare, is unveiling details of the new spa training college being set up in Kent, UK. The school is a joint project between SpaFind and the Bell International Language School, working in partnership with the British International Spa Association (BISA), of which Czik is treasurer.
“The plan is to get international spa operators to send their therapists to the UK, both to improve their technique and learn specialist spa English,” explained Czik.
“We hope it will appeal to large hotel groups, such as Hyatt, but also national spa associations overseas,” explained Czik.
He said that the position of English already as an international business language made it the obvious choice for spa students.
The initiative has already won over spa industry bosses in China, who are keen to build the treatment sector to aid their tourism development.
At the end of this month, the school is expecting to welcome its first batch of overseas students - 35 would-be therapists from Japan - who will tour UK spa facilities, learn more about England’s spa history, and brush up their language skills.
“BISA’s aim is to develop best practice standards that go beyond the individual group training schemes, so this is a way of spreading the word,” added Czik.
World Travel Market’s Health and Wellness focus is a reflection of the phenomenal growth of spa holidays, according to Fiona Jeffery, the event’s Chairman.
“Research shows that the industry has grown 40% in the past three years alone”, said Jeffery.
“The sheer size of the market is mind-boggling. There are now more spas in the US alone (15,699) than there are Starbucks coffee shops in the world (13,728).”
Dr Bruce Osborne, chairman of the UK’s Spa Research Fellowship and vice-chairman of the British International Spa Association says that spas have become an essential part of the holiday market.
“There are two definite trends,” explained Dr Osborne. “The first is for spas to align themselves with big brands such as ESPA. They can buy the products in bulk and get a whole regime of support, including staff training.
“There is also a trend towards the exotic. Creating new products sets you apart. Spas often look to the local culture, say using coconut milk in the Caribbean, to add an element of ethnicity to their offering.
“New treatments are being offered all the time, usually with a form of evidence that it does some good.
“They may be quite bizarre, but with the plethora of procedures available some will stick and get taken on into the mainstream. Alternatively, these ‘unique’ products will stay niche and have a novelty value.”