16 Aug 2018 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Spa Business issue 2, 2018 is now out!

Blogs:

Spa Business bloggers:

Liz Terry
CEO,
Leisure Media

Kate Cracknell
editor-at-large,
Health Club Management

Katie Barnes
Managing Editor,
Spa Business

Lisa Starr
Senior Consultant,
Wynne Business

Anna Bjurstam
Owner,
Raison d'Etre

Dieter Buchner
Founding Partner,
Urban Healing

Jean-Guy de Gabriac
Founder/ CEO,
Tip Touch Academie

Marisa Dimitriadis
Managing Director,
The Spa Consultants

Anni Hood
Owner,
Kis Lifestyle Group

Jane Scrivner
Managing Director,
Jane Scrivner

Time to engage with governments

27 Jan 2012
by Liz Terry, CEO, Leisure Media
We could learn a valuable lesson from operators in the airline industry who've become past masters at leveraging their influence commercially to negotiate terms with governments, cities and businesses.

News that the government of the Maldives had instructed spas on the islands to close (see Spa Business 2012 issue 1 p16) sent shock waves through the industry when it was announced recently.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed attributed the ban to lobbying by an opposition party, saying: "The government has decided to close all massage parlors and spas, following an opposition-led religious protest last week calling for their closure."

Opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said the move was aimed at harming spa businesses owned by rivals, claiming: "We wanted massage clinics closed to prevent prostitution [but] Nasheed is misusing the demands to take revenge by imposing the ban on resorts owned by opposition members."

Although the ban was subsequently lifted pending a review, the very fact that something like this can happen out of the blue came as a shock to both investors and operators.

Tourism is worth US$1.5bn (€1.1bn, £1bn) to the Maldives and makes up 30 per cent of GDP and the announcement is bound to have a damaging impact on the islands' tourism industry.

The episode has highlighted several critical issues. The first is the important but often underestimated role spas play in drawing high-spending customers to resorts and the second is the industry's lack of coherence when it comes to high-level lobbying and proving its economic value strategically.

We could learn a valuable lesson from operators in the airline industry who've become past masters at leveraging their influence commercially by negotiating terms with governments, cities and local businesses. You can be sure that when a new route opens up which involves carrying hoards of new customers to a destination, the airlines involved have negotiated themselves the very best deal possible.

The episode of the Maldives ban should act as a catalyst for the industry and prompt us to commission research which proves the economic value of the spa industry to world tourism and to set up the necessary lobbying infrastructure to enable us to speak on a peer-to-peer basis with governments and other key stakeholders to sell the case for our industry.

With so many parts of the world in turmoil which involve clashes of ideology, spas are vulnerable to threats of this nature. Being clear about both health and economic benefits and then being united it getting these points across in a clear and culturally sensitive way is vital if our industry is to avoid further disruption.



Tags: Spa Business  spa & beauty  tourism 

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