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Asia Insider: Singapore Spa Trends

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 5, 2007, from the June 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

The spa industry in Singapore is booming. The country has been positioned as the urban spa hub of Southeast Asia by the tourism board, despite its relatively small size and reported economic downturn.

The island city-state of Singapore is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and consists of one main island area of 263 square miles surrounded by 63 islets. Aside from Monaco, it is the most densely populated independent country in the world, with a population of 4.48 million, according to government statistics. Tourism is huge. The Singapore Tourism Board said Singapore had 8.85 million international visitor arrivals in 2006,  and Singapore’s spa explosion is due, in part, to this increase in steady tourism.
I wanted to see this urban spa hub up close and personal, so I recently spent a week in Singapore visiting some of the top local spas and sharing views on the industry with the professionals who run them. My journey was eye-opening and enlightening as I learned more about the trends and consumer demands that drive these businesses.

Advance Treatments, Back to Basics and Healing

Intelligent Spas’ Spa Industry Profile Singapore 2003–2008 identified that a key trend in the Singapore spa industry, indicated by managers and owners, is the competitive and affordable pricing currently being offered. The increase of medical-related treatments being introduced is another trend, and, as with the U.S. market, spa-goers in Singapore are looking for a total spa experience.
As for client trends, these Asian spas are seeing more male and younger clients, as well as more couples’ services, and gift certificate sales are on the rise.

At Estheva Spa, Tan Wee Tech, the spa’s director, sees the future trends combining antiaging treatments and massage.
“It’s all in the package,” he states. “The trend really is to put together comprehensive packages. It needs to be viewed as a lifestyle to help the client look good, and younger. Natural is also a trend. The spa industry is very competitive in Singapore; spas here must rise up in order to stay on top.”

Doris Sinnathurai, manager of RafflesAmrita Spa, feels that a big trend is the return to basics.