In India, Spa has emerged as one of the fastest growing industry after America and Europe with the quarter of the last decade having seen a growth of 8 per cent; the reason being their substantial expansion in travel and tourism industry as well as a rise in income which has made them more aware about the quality of life. Rhetorically speaking, Health is Wealth is the new catchphrase, and nothing can be more beneficial for unwinding and healing strained nerves than natural therapy of a spa. Hence, the health conscious class is consuming spa like never before.
Growth of Spa
Region wise, north India is doing well with its stable rate of economic growth in comparison to other regions. In west, Mumbai being a land of Bollywood and corporates and an established land of tourism is contributing a big chunk to the economic prosperity.
In south, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka complete the picture. Moreover, Kerala has put India on the World economic map as a mecca for tourists and locals alike because of its Ayurvedic flavour. It recently won Asia’s best travel destination award. The city’s equable climate, natural abundance of forests (with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the cool monsoon season (June - November) are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages.
According to Rajeev, Nagarjuna Hospitality, Kerala, “Our expert therapists, provide a variety of professionally administered treatments and programmes ranging from best in Ancient Ayurveda to innovative Ayurveda. Holistic and non clinical treatments are designed for rejuvenating, relaxing and pampering mind and body. We also provide extended personalized programmes”.
Interestingly, the booming industry is also attracting branded spa operators to India. According to a recent piece of news from Red Door, the American spa major, “The rate at which the hospitality industry, specially the five-star hotels are growing, and increasing demand for tourism, thousands of years of culture of well-being (Ayurveda), right demographics, younger population (highly educated and affluent)—all contributed to our decision of entering India”.
Medispas are the newest thing attracting people. Some spas have yoga centres and gyms while others are doing botox and laser treatment for weight reduction with qualified doctors.
Accreditation of Spas
Since, the sector is still largely unorganized, hygiene and quality is a matter of big concern. Therefore, accreditation becomes important so that wheat can be separated from chaff and people can know the category of the spa they are visiting. National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health care providers (NABH) has launched a programme for accreditation of wellness centres like gyms, spas, cosmetic and skin treatment centres in the country.
Price range and Profit per cent
The Industry is highly unorganized; there is no fixed module for pricing. It could be anywhere near Rs. 500 for a part massage to Rs. 1000 onwards for a full massage. Some government centers charge as less as 200 which you can avail of at your own risk and hygiene. According to ASSOCHAM, the Indian spa industry which is offering a mix of traditional Ayurvedic as well as Chinese, Thai and Swedish healing techniques is expected to receive investment of US$ 35 billion in the next 3-4 years.
Boom time in CWG
In India, there are 380,000 registered medical practitioners of the ayurvedic system as compared to about 700,000 modern medical systems. Ayurvedic and medical tourism industries will be beneficiaries of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Major hospital chains and ayurvedic/spa centres are gearing up to attract large number of visitors.
Shahnaz Husain, the lady whose name is synonymous with Herbal and Ayurveda has over 200 Signature salons and spas worldwide states, ‘India being a land of Ayurveda and a hot topic these days has special attraction for the foreigners and as per an estimate by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry ASSOCAM, each foreigner visiting India during the Common Wealth Games is likely to spend around Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 35,000 for availing services pertaining to this field. The maximum inflow of tourists is expected from UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore and Sri Lanka, apart from over 4 lakh domestic tourists. Over 40,000 professionals would be employed to cater to the burgeoning 500 crore Ayurvedic Industry and still counting!!
Kaya Kalp at ITC Mughal, Agra, that was declared the world’s best spa in 2008 by UK’s Tatler magazine is also optimistic to draw good business during this time.
According to Pawan Kamra of Kairali Ayurvedic centre, Spa franchise is becoming hot market with profit margins in the spa industry as high as 60-65 per ccent. With 25 spa centres that includes even franchisees, in India and abroad, Kairali's mantra is, “A massage a week will keep the doctor away”.
India is generating approximately 600 million USD annually through spa industry alone. According to Shahnaz Husain, “With over 700 spas predicted to open doors in the next two years, there's no doubt that the spa industry in India is growing fast. Several companies are busy devising major expansion plans to reap in huge profit margins. With the extended global spa economy now estimated to be worth $255 billion, there has never been a better time for medical tourism in India. India will continue to be a hot spot for medical tourists that seek travel services that incorporate diverse wellness packages, including those that couple medical procedures with spa indulgences, ayurvedic treatments or cultural immersion experiences”. No wonder, India is witnessing long queues outside spas, waiting to rejuvenate their cells.
Parallel beneficiary markets
The Industry has given impetus to a glut of markets of light fittings, music equipments, furnishings, furniture, bathing tubs, electrical equipments like steam, cosmetic, fragrances, sanitation, toiletries etc. Also, the architects are seeing boom in their creativity like never before.
Most importantly, let's not forget as we conclude that when recession was at its peak in the last few years, the spa industry proved a god sent angel to many unemployed. Luck is indeed spreading through this Wellness industry...