New York, NY (PRWEB) February 4, 2009
India has increasingly been on the world’s (and West’s) radar: from the tragic terror attacks in Mumbai, to the worldwide popularization of ‘Bollywood,’ to the release of the acclaimed, Oscar-contending film Slumdog Millionaire. The picture of modern Indian society emerging from these events and representations is of course complex: While Slumdog Millionaire has been criticized by some for its ‘stereotypical’ depiction of Indian working-class poverty, the news footage of the Mumbai attacks revealed a very modern India in the throes of rapid economic development, featuring new super-luxury resort hotels.
With the IMF recently releasing data that India and China represent the two fastest-growing world economies, there’s no debate that the country is developing at a breakneck pace, unleashing new class mobility, and newly evolving markets. One economic sub-sector experiencing significant growth and evolution is the spa industry in India, which, according to SpaFinder Research, represents one of the most interesting global spa economies to watch in 2009–and beyond.
The Indian spa industry currently boasts over 2,300 spas, generating revenue representing approximately USD $ 384 million annually. Initiatives are underway to train spa personnel to meet the growing demand for these 2300+ spas, and for the hundreds–even thousands–more that are likely to establish themselves in the next five to ten years. While the spa market in India is still a modest sliver of the overall $ 60-billion-plus core global spa economy, India is poised to attract significantly more western tourists (particularly on the medical/wellness travel front)as well as continue to develop its own vibrant, indigenous spa market at a heady pace.
According to SpaFinder Research, here are some emerging trends that should play out in the booming Indian spa market in 2009:
Thou Who Seekest a Spa, Will Find One.
With over 700 spas predicted to open doors in the next 2-4 years, there’s no doubt that the spa industry in India is growing fast. CMYK Health Boutique’s Fountain Spa, Cravatex’s Spa Zieta, Floriana Group’s Chandan Sparsh and Franchise India Holding’s Spa Siam are among the several companies with major expansion plans.
Yoga, Ayurveda Represent Serious Business, Now More Than Ever
In 2009, both yoga and ayurveda will continue to be classic examples of global cross-pollination across borders. Yoga, one of the most powerful and profitable wellness modalities in the word, is a lifestyle for millions of people who are increasingly enthusiastic about traveling to the spiritual and cultural source: India. Indian spas will also continue to expand their Ayurvedic menus, for both their passionate overseas clientele who want to experience authentic Ayurvedic therapies–as well as for local enthusiasts, either already familiar with the benefits, or who wish to adopt their own Indian healing traditions for the first time. Also gradually growing on the western consumer’s radar is Ayurvedic medicine, which is often introduced to consumers in other countries via the spa industry. As state tourism departments (particularly in the Kerala region) more aggressively promote and package Ayurveda, look for new legislation mandating scientific methods and quality control, trained therapists, Ayurvedic doctors and license certifications.
Alternative Healing Back in Vogue
Alternative healing has always been a traditional part of the Indian cultural milieu. Spearheaded by spas, 2009 will see a renewed interest in a wellness lifestyle and diverse alternative healing approaches. Spas will strive to offer holistic, organic elements in treatments, as well as emphasize mind-body-spirit connections and advocate eventual lifestyle changes. Some of these treatments will combine elements such as massage, meditation, yoga, re-birthing techniques, past life regression and energy medicine like reiki, etc.
The Spa-Savvy Indian Male
The urban Indian male increasingly wants to look good and feel good: and now seeks wellness treatments–like Champissage (head massage) and full-body massage on a regular basis–as well as grooming treatments and products designed especially for him. Look for a significant increase in spa treatments and spa skincare product ranges for men in 2009.
For the Love of Luxury
The affluent Indian consumer loves brands. To cater to the brand-conscious consumer, local Indian spas (like Chandan Sparsh and Fountain Spa) will increasingly establish themselves as multi-city spa brands. Local spa products (such as Bindi Bath and Body products that are already popular in USA), or spa products (from abroad like UK-based Ila) that have gained traction in India, will increasingly make their presence felt. 2009 will also see the advent of new global brand players like Mandara and Pevonia Botanica launching in the Indian spa and spa product sectors respectively.
Medical Tourists Will Spa!
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. India occupies a unique and enviable position in the emerging medical travel arena. With a globally recognized and well-respected medical establishment generating English-speaking, highly qualified doctors, India will offer one of the best ‘glocal’ environments for travelers seeking more affordable, quality medical offerings. Also look for a step-up in security at spa destinations and resort hotels after the terrible Mumbai attacks.
Aesthetic Treatments Get More Attractive
Look for an uptick in medical spas, dental spas and cosmetic clinics that cater to both locals and traveling medical tourists. More invasive aesthetic procedures (like face lifts, breast enhancement, otoplasty (ear surgery), rhinoplasty and cosmetic dentistry)–as well as less invasive, non-surgical treatments such as skin polishing, brightening and lightening, body sculpting, micro-dermabrasion, glycolic peels, radio-frequency and laser treatments–will continue to grow in popularity.
The Spa Tween-Teen Year
Spas and cosmetic clinics will continue to roll out specific treatments for pre-teens and teens. While some spas (such as the Dinacharya course at Sanjeeva medical spa at Vedic Village, Kolkaka) are already offering packages designed specifically for teens, numerous other spas will follow suit by offering acne-treatment facials for both girls and boys, teen-focused massages, mother-daughter specials, glitter manicures etc.
Bollywood Stars Spice Up Spas
While several celebrities such as Ameesha Patel, Kareena Kapoor, Riya Sen, Katrina Kaif, Kunika, Kim Sharma, and Ayesha Jhulka enjoy spa-ing, many also actively promote health and wellness initiatives. Look for more Bollywood stars to inculcate the importance of spa-going in their own lives. The spa-going behavior of Hollywood celebrities has significantly helped publicize the benefits of spas in the Westso expect the same impact on the industry from Bollywood stars, who will increasingly become the poster children for the emerging Indian world of spa.
Culture, Myth, History Catch Spa Fancy
Many of the newer Indian spas are fashionably designed around Indian history, astrology and values, and offer incredible immersive spa experiences, dedicated to indigenous culture, myth, materials and design. The examples of this trend are diverse: some spas provide regionally-specific treatments (such as the use of turmeric and semolina to enhance a South Indian experience, and sandalwood and rosewater in Delhi to augment flavors of the 16th century Mughal dynasty)–oth