Dubai, UAE: The Middle East could be a global pioneer in spa and wellness services, with the region’s burgeoning spa industry setting an ideal platform to introduce new innovations that will shape the future of the world’s wellness sector, experts have said today.
Discussing the future of the region’s spa, salon and wellness industry in a global context was the hot topic at the two-day Spa and Wellness Management Summit, currently taking place on the side-lines of Beautyworld Middle East 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Melissa Rancourt, Co-founder of Serendipity Wellness and Belgian-based Serendip Spa, and a speaker today, said the Middle East’s proximity to the Far East and Europe creates a perfect supply and demand scenario where new innovations can be launched.
“The Middle East can be a great leader in demonstrating new offerings and ideas to the global wellness industry,” said Rancourt. “An interesting area to explore could be the ability to create repeatable business, loyal customers and a recognisable brand by creating an international path between spas in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The Middle East could pioneer innovative ways to do this through joint ventures, new technology, and customer focus.”
According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the world’s second fastest growing market for spas, more than doubling in size between 2007 and 2013.
The UAE, with 566 spas and US$581 million revenue in 2013, and Morocco (1,699 spas, US$253 million revenue) account for 50 per cent of the MENA spa market, while the industry employs more than 57,000 across the region.
Paul Hawco, Director of Talise Spa Operations at Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts delivered the keynote presentation at the Spa and Wellness Management Summit, which concludes today (27 May.)
Hawco said that Dubai in particular is already setting the trends in the global spa industry: “Dubai’s spa market and specifically luxury niche has matured significantly and to the level where Dubai is no longer being as influenced by trends as much as setting them and the standard,” said Hawco.
“However, how we manage and drive the business forward is key to thrive within our industry and being positioned to then influence the global industry and being known as a pioneering region.
“Our spas in the Middle East are among the most luxurious and therapeutically designed facilities in the world; we have a unique opportunity to leverage this along with subsequent growth, allowing further trust from spa owners, which in turn provides the environment to be more competitive, innovative and dynamic in our approach.”
“This also attracts talent and expertise that will allow us to diversify and remain not only relevant, but positioned with a deeper appreciation for the industry, in turn fostering an industry where anything can happen,” added Hawco.
More than 70 spa and salon owners, directors, managers, hoteliers, consultants, wellness specialists, and health fitness operators gathered at the Spa and Wellness Management Summit to gain insights into the latest trends impacting the regional spa sector.
The dedicated platform was also the setting for a case study of Abu Dhabi-based Bedashing Beauty Lounge, which evolved from a local start-up to one of the UAE’s leading beauty spas in just seven years.
Noor Al Tamimi, CEO of Dashing International Group, and founder of Bedashing, explained: “We started in 2008 as Dashing Nails offering manicures, pedicures, grooming services and massages in a very small 55sqm facility, but in less than six months we became the number one nail spa in Abu Dhabi.”
“Demand was so high that customers were asking for other beauty services to be added to our menu, and for new branches to open in other areas in the country. In mid-2014, Dashing Nails was rebranded to Bedashing Beauty Lounge in line with our regional expansion strategy, and we now proudly have five branches in Abu Dhabi, and two branches opening soon in Dubai.
Added Al Tamimi: “What differentiated us was our very unique ambience and emphasis on branding. Our customers thought we are an international brand which just opened its first branch in the UAE.”
Other headline speakers at the Spa and Wellness Management Summit included Gopal Kumar, Director of Spa & Retail at the Burj Al Arab; Helena Mahuas, Business Owner of Serendipity Wellness; and Kamal Khalil, Director of Spa and Recreation at Fairmont The Palm.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Beautyworld Middle East 2015 focuses on the five core areas of Cosmetics & Skincare; Hair, Nails and Salon Supplies; Fragrances; Machinery, Packaging & Raw Materials, and Professional Equipment & Spa.
Further information can be found at: www.beautyworldme.com