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Japan is now the third-largest wellness tourism destination in Asia, in terms of total visitors, according to the Global Wellness Institute’s 2019 Global Wellness Trends report.
Since the tourism industry has received substantial investments in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, officials are promoting Japanese wellness — from an extraordinary hot springs culture to forest bathing — to broaden the country’s international appeal.
To become a tourism-oriented country by 2020 calls for a shift in Japan’s growth path.
Because wellness tourists are big spenders, an inbound wellness tourism surge would help disperse tourists from the over-visited Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo routes. Currently, 48% of tourist stays are concentrated in the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, according to The Future of Japan’s Tourism: Path for Sustainable Growth, which suggests a significant opportunity for Japan to attract more visitors to locations outside of the top urban areas. Even when tourists do travel to other administrative districts in Japan, they spend an average of 30% less than they do in those three major cities.
Since the Japanese government has made it a priority to revitalize non-metropolitan areas, increasing tourism in these areas could be a core element of its strategy, the report said.
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is developing wellness-focused tourism in lesser-known destinations, such as Misugi, which promotes natural assets like stargazing and forest bathing; and Beppu, on the southern island of Kyushu, known for its onsen (hot springs). The scenic area, where rocky baths overlook the ocean at high-class mountain retreats, has close to 3,000 hot spring vents.
Other strategic wellness tourism zones include the Dragon Route in central Japan, which includes historic and cultural sites, natural landscapes (including Mount Fuji), and plenty of hot springs.
Ask travelers the number-one thing they want out of a hotel stay, and chances are the answer is: a good night’s sleep.
For this reason, the hospitality industry has always cared about rest. But despite the fact that getting enough shut-eye is crucial for travelers who want to feel good on business trips or vacation, innovation in the area for years was decidedly lacking (Westin’s Heavenly Bed, for example, launched in 1999).
That’s all changed, however, with the rise of the wellness movement — which has an obsession with sleep. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is now a $4.2 trillion industry, and that number is projected to increase in the coming years.
Wellness tourism makes up a $639 billion slice of the pie, and companies are eager to carve out an even bigger piece by partnering with buzzy sleep and meditation apps like Calm and Headspace. They’re also offering unique snooze-inducing packages and amenities to help customers lead a life of wellness even when away.
“As the wellness industry continues to grow, more people are looking for ways to incorporate their wellness practices into their travels rather than abandoning them for total ‘vacation-mode,’ or disregarding their at-home routine while traveling for business,” says Edward Shapard, General Manager of The Dominick, a boutique hotel in New York.
To help keep guests’ sleep practice up, Westin offers Sleep Well menus, which include foods that have been found to help promote sleep and a Sleep Well lavender balm that comes free in every room. The goal? “To help guests adjust to a new time zone or recover from their travels,” says Brian Povinelli, senior vice president and global brand leader for Westin.
The hotel brand is even doing research into lighting and circadian rhythm so it can develop in-room controls that adjust the quality of light throughout the day. “While still in the development phase, these key pads at the entry and in the sleep area will have ‘scenes’ that match morning, noon, and night lighting conditions,” says Povinelli. “The idea being that guests may set their rooms’ lighting scenes to combat jet lag and promote healthy sleep cycles.”
Spas are becoming more popular in the United States.
Last year, Americans visited spas a record 190 million times. And they spent about $18.3 billion dollars. Those numbers come from the International Spa Association, or ISPA.
The industry group recently held its yearly event for the media. Garrett Mersberger is the association’s board chairman. He spoke to the Associated Press about trends in the industry.
One trend: More American men have been going to spas. “It used to always be a female-driven thing. We’re now seeing 50-50, if not swinging more toward the males,” Mersberger said.
He said the trend started around 2017, when the association reported that 49 percent of people going to spas were men, up from 29 percent in 2005.
“They’re [men are] much more aware that it’s not just a thing I go to getpampered. It’s an actual lifestyle choice with benefits to my body, to my wellness…It’s not just about going for relaxation,” Mersberger said.
Another trend: Spas are using more technology. Kohler Waters Spas, for example, recently launched a virtual reality headset meant to be used for guided meditation.
The experience offers the choice of music or the sound of a person’s voice with pictures during manicures and pedicures. The headsets show pictures of mountain lakes, beaches, waterfalls, clouds and the night sky. Kohler is considering more virtual reality devices to go with massages and other treatments.
Charging stations at manicure and pedicure areas are also on the rise. That way, people getting treatments can keep their electronic devices fully charged.
“Nothing stresses a Millennial out more than taking their phone away,” said Linda McNees, the ISPA’s president. “The whole idea is to be able to relax, so it’s really about thinking about customization. What’s going to make you comfortable?”
Intense heat and sticky, gross humidity can totally kill the vibe of a date. Traveling to meet up with someone only to sweat through the entirety of your outfit? Not a good look. But what if you’re actively looking for that hot and steamy environment? Whether single or already coupled up, one way to fuse all that sultriness with a little steam is with a spa day.
These 8 holistic havens below, located all around the United States, range from urban wellness centers to remote ranches, all guaranteed to keep things especially sexy no matter what time of year it is. Whether celebrating an anniversary or just looking to try something new with a brand new partner, you can’t go wrong with an indulgent date idea like this one.
The ISPA Foundation commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct the study which presents what is known as the “Big Five” spa statistics: total revenue, spa visits, spa locations, revenue per visit, and number of employees for the United States spa industry.
Most notably from this study, total revenue passed the $18 billion mark in 2018, increasing from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $18.3 billion in 2018, a 4.7% increase. The increase in spa revenue was driven by growth in revenue per visit, increasing from $93.70 in 2017 to $96.50 in 2018, a 3% increase. The number of spa visits also saw a rise from 187 million in 2017 to 190 million in 2018. Additionally, the number of spa locations increased 1.8% from 21,770 in 2017 to 22,160 in 2018.
“We are grateful to once again report record growth for the spa industry with 2018 marking a record high 18.3 billion in revenue,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “The spa industry continues to prove itself as a thriving market perfect for anyone looking to enter an industry with limitless potential.”
“The number of spas is at an all-time record. There are now more than 22,000 across the U.S, continuing to expand its footprint,” said Colin McIlheney, Global Research Director, PWC. “The other notable statistic is that revenues are getting ever close to the iconic 20-billion-dollar mark. This remarkable threshold could be reached during 2020. The results from the Big 5 show the spa industry still on the march to new highs.”
The complete study will be released at the 2019 ISPA Conference & Expo at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada September 11 – 13.
When Layla and Brooklyn go for a spa day, there’s a chance there might be kicking, screaming and babbling.
That’s because the girls are just 6 months and 7 weeks old. Their “baby spa” isn’t about towel wrapped heads, cucumber eye patches or charcoal face masks. It caters to infants less than a year old and mostly involves floating.
Oakville’s Baby Float Spa, like other health clubs for tots, isn’t unlike their adult counterparts. It has Instagram-friendly interiors, a no-shoes policy, candles for purchase and Registered Massage Therapists who lead parents in a baby massage. But the showpiece in this these infant Zen centres is the hydrotherapy water tub, part home bath, part Jacuzzi, where anywhere from one to eight kids, each buoyed by a doughnut-shaped neck ring — a water-wing floaty for the head — can kick, float and get some exercise.
From Oakville to Markham, spas for babies are a small but thriving business in the GTA with varying prices from $40 for a single float session to more than $600 for 10 float-and-RMT-massage combos (which means much of the cost can be claimed through insurance).
While there is scant research to suggest floating is beneficial to a babies development, anecdotal observations from spa owners and the parents who visit them are positive.
“The non-scientific benefit is the epic nap that happens afterwards,” said Alex Fell, owner of Oakville’s Baby Float Spa. “There’s no new parent that’s not going to benefit from that.”
What used to be a female-driven business is now increasingly catering to males.
“We’re seeing a lot more men going to spas,” said Garrett Mersberger, board chair of the International Spa Association (Ispa). “It used to always be a female-driven thing. We’re now seeing 50-50, if not swinging more toward the males.”
The trend took off as long ago as 2017, when Ispa reported 49 percent of spa customers were men, up from 29 percent in 2005.
“They’re much more aware that it’s not just a thing I go to to get pampered. It’s an actual lifestyle choice with benefits to my body, to my wellness. It’s part of my routine now. It’s not just about going for relaxation,” Mersberger said.
The change impacts treatment areas, relaxation areas and changing stations, said Ispa president Lynne McNees.
“Spas are really having to evolve to accommodate that male spa goer,” McNees said. “Typically, your back of house for males would be smaller because historically it’s been very heavy female. Now they’re having to shift that.”