Spas have seen a lack of support and general disregard during this pandemic. What is the future of the spa industry and where will we go from here?
By Kathryn Gallagher,
Chairman Of The Board, Leading Spas of Canada
It has now been one year since the world became aware of Covid-19, and no one could have predicted how long it was going to last or the impact it would have, especially in the hospitality sector, which includes spas. Leaders from our industry talk about not only the financial impact the virus has had, but the lack of support and general disregard we have been afforded. This is not just a Canadian issue, but a global one.
“We are one of the most compliant industries, having invested time and resources in providing safe and Covid-secure environments, and yet we continue to be penalised and placed behind almost every other sector,” said Danny Pecorelli, managing director, Exclusive Collection, UK (European Spa Magazine).
The pandemic has exposed how vulnerable our industry is when government restrictions are put in place. The question becomes, “what can we do to change the government’s perception of our businesses going forward?” Unfortunately, there is no federal government regulation of the Canadian spa industry and that is where an association would help.
Leading Spas of Canada was established in 2000 and is the only national spa industry association in Canada. We represent the broad spectrum of the spa experience, including hotel, resort and day spas, destination, Nordic, mineral spring and thermal spas, and medical spas. In addition, we represent resource partners, educational institutions, individual professionals and students. Our members adhere to the highest standards and practices related to service, hygiene and safety. In 2009, a first-of-its-kind, national Quality Assurance Approved (QA) program was developed.
No one else has Quality Assurance Approved certification and this unique program is a method for verifying that the quality and integrity of the services and best practices provided by spas have been met. Government and health officials should know that spas earn the distinctive Quality Assurance Approved designation by completing an assessment conducted by independent third-party assessors specially trained for this industry. Renewal is not automatic, and spas must re-qualify once their terms expire. When people see this logo, they know the spa they are visiting is audited regularly by a third party to ensure they are meeting the highest standards of health and safety, hygiene and cleanliness and adhering to a code of ethics and conduct. People who are hesitant will feel a sense of reassurance when they see spas with this logo.
We are also looking at the future of spas in Canada and the role of Wellness. We are seeing how the pandemic has made people aware of the need for self-care (physical as well as emotional) and spas have a significant role to play. Breath work, yoga, healthy eating, holistic spa treatments, programs for fitness and programs for anxiety are just a few areas that are supported by western scientific study to not only improve immunity and prevent illness, but also to support physical and mental health and are much in demand by the public.
“Today the spa industry is part of 11 global wellness markets defined by the Global Wellness Institute [and] is part of a booming wellness economy that was estimated at US$4.5tn and growing in 2018. Citing the mental and physical benefits of spa practices will give the industry more traction in medical and political circles,” said Dr Richard Carmona, 17th surgeon general, USA (Spa Business).
The pandemic has been hard on our industry, but we also have a rare opportunity to unify and create a strong, respected sector that has the ability to make a difference in reducing healthcare costs and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way.
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