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3:24 PM, Sunday, 21 April 2024

Health Matters Asia Ep 10 Sunai Wachirawarakarn President Thai Spa Association


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In the latest installment of Spa Matters Asia, our host, David Barrett, engages in a conversation with Sunai Wachirawarakarn, the President of the Thai Spa Association. This non-profit organization is dedicated to advancing and nurturing the spa industry in Thailand. The association’s 200 members benefit from a range of advantages, including educational newsletters, seminars, regular member gatherings and networking opportunities with spa professionals from Thailand and around the globe.

In the Middle East, the demand for spa products and qualified therapists is soaring due to a burgeoning economy, new hotel openings and a less saturated market compared to Thailand. In light of this, Khun Sunai emphasizes the opportunity of Thailand to export Soft Power with therapists working overseas. He also highlights the importance of Thai spas adhering to ASEAN spa standards to position Thailand as the premier spa hub in the region, despite competition from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where English-speaking Filipino therapists hold a distinct advantage.

The evolving trend in spas is a move towards a more experiential approach by expanding service menus and adopting holistic practices that address both body and mind. As we enter 2024, the desire to look and feel good is paramount for those with disposable income. The spa services market, representing an $88 billion global industry, is projected to grow by over 17 percent to reach $260 billion between 2023 and 2030, a trend mirrored in Thailand.

A recent industry report indicates that 94% of affluent travelers are incorporating wellness and self-care into their journeys. Retreats and wellness programs catering to health-focused travelers are on the rise. The future of spas globally, including Thailand, is marked by innovation, technology, biohacking and sustainability.

Spas now cater not only to the traditional clientele but also to an aging population seeking additional pampering or health and well-being programs tailored for seniors. Fueled by heightened awareness of personal health post-COVID, there is a growing demand for spa treatments, aligning with the six key pillars driving the health and wellness market: better health, better fitness, better nutrition, better appearance, better sleep and better mindfulness.

Looking ahead to the era of artificial intelligence (AI), younger generations are emphasizing disease prevention over waiting for illness, with positive psychology, pro-active and preventive medicine taking center stage. The Thai spa industry must adapt its customer journey by integrating wellness services, starting with diagnostics. Terms like ‘assessment,’ ‘evaluation,’ and ‘prescription’ are becoming integral to preventive healthcare and AI sub-products, including fitness and body scanning machines, facilitate these assessments, allowing personalization of preventive health programs.

Given the younger generation’s digital connectivity and the deficit in physical contact, spa treatments, such as massages, offer a uniquely human touch, reinforcing the importance of physical well-being.

Stress levels have surged post-pandemic, creating a demand for holistic approaches to mental well-being. Traditional Ayurvedic methods, acupuncture, reflexology, and alternative healing therapies are gaining popularity for their holistic approach that addresses the root cause of issues.

Dietary preferences are also evolving, with the rise of veganism and various other diets. The spa and wellness industry has the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to highlight the benefits of its culinary offerings, crafted by chefs with input from nutritionists, to cater to clients with dietary concerns.

The future appears promising and dynamic for the Thai Spa Association, led by President Khun Sunai, as it navigates a changing landscape and embraces new trends in the spa industry.

This episode was filmed at ViMUT Hospital. A leading healthcare provider in Bangkok.

#Thai #Spa #Massage

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