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Event report
Spa & Wellness Association of Africa conference

Lisa Starr shares her highlights from the annual conference of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa

By Lisa Starr | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 4


Around 75 government officials, hospitality executives, physicians and spa operators from a dozen African countries convened in the sunny seaside town of Mombasa, Kenya in September for an annual industry conference organised by the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA).

With the backdrop of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which outlay a plan of action for planetary health and wellbeing, and Africa adding 2030 and 2063 Agendas which focus on this, the 2019 SWAA conference was dominated by exploring the difference between medical and wellness tourism, and the status of those markets in Africa. “Tourism is on the rise [in Africa] and health is as important as it’s ever been before,” says Elaine Okeke Martin, president of the SWAA’s board of directors.

While defined data is difficult to come by concerning many things African, it would seem that South Africa and Mauritius have more well-developed markets in wellness tourism, but Africa as a continent sees very little inbound medical tourism. Suki Kalirai, a former UK spa industry representative at government level and current spa owner, shared some reasons for the scarcity of medical tourists including a lack of both standards of treatment and supporting regulatory structures, as well as contracts and processes that meet global expectations.

However, progress is being made, and Dr Betty Radier, CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board, explained that ageing populations in advanced economies, urbanisation and an increase in time spent on leisure activities are factors driving health tourism in Kenya.

One issue flagged up by public health specialist Meelan Thondoo is the fact that African countries have enough challenges providing sustainable healthcare for their own communities, and that available funding should go towards that effort.

Having previously held director roles at Six Senses and Anantara, Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality, moderated an excellent panel on the intersection between wellness and health tourism. The major theme emerging was that wellness tourism is typically elective and even recreational, while health tourism is often driven by need as well as economic factors.

Meanwhile, medical aesthetics were highlighted to spa operators, including live botox demonstrations. Isabel Roos of Isa Carstens Academy in South Africa explained the current framework of beauty certifications in this part of the sector.

Ancillary workshops engaged African spa operators with practical and actionable education. The well-attended events included two full-day spa management courses in Nairobi and Mombasa delivered by Wynne Business, Wellness for Cancer training delivered by Julie Bach, both sponsored by Biologique Recherche, and LCN nail training sessions.

The overall takeaway is that SWAA continues to bring high-quality educational and networking experiences to the spa and wellness operators in Africa.

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr is a senior spa consultant and trainer at Wynne Business
[email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
Rupert Schmid from Biologique Recherche, a key sponsor
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

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01-02 Oct 2020

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News   Products   Magazine
Event report
Spa & Wellness Association of Africa conference

Lisa Starr shares her highlights from the annual conference of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa

By Lisa Starr | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 4


Around 75 government officials, hospitality executives, physicians and spa operators from a dozen African countries convened in the sunny seaside town of Mombasa, Kenya in September for an annual industry conference organised by the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA).

With the backdrop of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which outlay a plan of action for planetary health and wellbeing, and Africa adding 2030 and 2063 Agendas which focus on this, the 2019 SWAA conference was dominated by exploring the difference between medical and wellness tourism, and the status of those markets in Africa. “Tourism is on the rise [in Africa] and health is as important as it’s ever been before,” says Elaine Okeke Martin, president of the SWAA’s board of directors.

While defined data is difficult to come by concerning many things African, it would seem that South Africa and Mauritius have more well-developed markets in wellness tourism, but Africa as a continent sees very little inbound medical tourism. Suki Kalirai, a former UK spa industry representative at government level and current spa owner, shared some reasons for the scarcity of medical tourists including a lack of both standards of treatment and supporting regulatory structures, as well as contracts and processes that meet global expectations.

However, progress is being made, and Dr Betty Radier, CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board, explained that ageing populations in advanced economies, urbanisation and an increase in time spent on leisure activities are factors driving health tourism in Kenya.

One issue flagged up by public health specialist Meelan Thondoo is the fact that African countries have enough challenges providing sustainable healthcare for their own communities, and that available funding should go towards that effort.

Having previously held director roles at Six Senses and Anantara, Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality, moderated an excellent panel on the intersection between wellness and health tourism. The major theme emerging was that wellness tourism is typically elective and even recreational, while health tourism is often driven by need as well as economic factors.

Meanwhile, medical aesthetics were highlighted to spa operators, including live botox demonstrations. Isabel Roos of Isa Carstens Academy in South Africa explained the current framework of beauty certifications in this part of the sector.

Ancillary workshops engaged African spa operators with practical and actionable education. The well-attended events included two full-day spa management courses in Nairobi and Mombasa delivered by Wynne Business, Wellness for Cancer training delivered by Julie Bach, both sponsored by Biologique Recherche, and LCN nail training sessions.

The overall takeaway is that SWAA continues to bring high-quality educational and networking experiences to the spa and wellness operators in Africa.

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr is a senior spa consultant and trainer at Wynne Business
[email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
Rupert Schmid from Biologique Recherche, a key sponsor
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FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Keep your business bubbling with Core by Premier Software®
Core by Premier Software® (Core) is the leading single and multi-site software solution designed specifically for the spa, wellness and leisure industries. [more...]

Iyashi Dôme: the original Japanese sauna
In 2004, Shogoro Uemura, CEO of Iyashi Dôme, was inspired by his father’s work to create a new treatment protocol based on the Japanese tradition of sand bathing. [more...]
COMPANY PROFILES
CryoAction Limited

CryoAction Limited is a privately owned UK company, founded in 2015 by a team with a strong backgr [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

ResortSuite mobile: give your guests unlimited access to your resort
ResortSuite mobile. Deploy your own fully branded app. Give your guests unlimited access to your resort with real time booking capabilities, dining reservations, itineraries, member profiles and more... Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

01-02 Oct 2020

CCR London

ExCeL London, United Kingdom
01-04 Oct 2020

Cosmobeaute Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2020

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
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LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
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