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10th annual Spa China Summit highlights growth

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Over 270 industry professionals from 17 countries gathered between 14 and 16 September in Chengdu for the 10th annual Spa China Summit.

The background to the event was the rapid growth of the spa market in China, which is being driven by the expansion of China’s middle class.

China has a fast growing hot springs market, many day spas and small chains, as well as hotel and resort spas. The market for wellness resorts and medical spas also continues to grow.

Hosted at Fairmont Chengdu, this year’s event was comprised of three days of lectures, workshops, cocktail parties, demonstrations, panel discussions, healthy lunches, networking events and the Spa China Awards and Gala Dinner.

Presenters included Samantha Foster, director of spa and wellness consultancy and management company Destination Spa Management, who walked attendees through a process for concept development; Chicco and Lahra Tatriele, co-founders of Fivelements Resorts, who discussed methods for healthy ageing; and Spa China editor-in-chief Fifi Kao, who updated attendees on current trends in the China market.

Trent Munday, senior vice president for Steiner Spa Consulting, hosted a session asking, “Can Hotel Spas Survive?” Munday’s point was that there is so much sameness in the sector that it is difficult for hotel guests to discern one hotel spa from another, and the lack of innovation is hurting business.

Annie Fung of Genting Cruises discussed the challenges and opportunities for spas in the booming China cruise business, which has experienced an impressive 24 per cent growth in the last year.

Laurent Boillot, CEO of Guerlain, shared the story behind the company’s new Chinese-French brand, Cha Ling, which incorporates elements of TCM, tea, and French aesthetics techniques.

One of the most popular presentations of the event showcased watsu warm water therapy. Tony Cheung, founder of PA Wellness Consultancy, discussed the physical requirements of building a pool, and husband-and-wife team Toru Ogasawa and Yukako Kitajima, founders of Okinawa Watsu Center in Japan, provided demonstrations of Watsu in the hotel pool.

The gala dinner and awards ceremony recognised the best in spa facilities, products, and treatments in the region. Winners included:

• Best Hotel Spa of the Year: The Ritz-Carlton, Macau

• Best Destination Spa of the Year: Banyan Tree Spa Yangshuo • Best Hot Spring Spa Resort of the Year: Bolian Hot Spring and Spa, Boilan Hotel, Kunming

• Best Newly Opened Spa of the Year: Away Spa, W Shanghai – The Bund• Best Day Spa of the Year: Thann Sanctuary Spa

• Best Chain Spa of the Year: Rubis Spa

Numerous awards were also given for products, treatments and concepts.

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Over 270 industry professionals from 17 countries gathered between 14 and 16 September in Chengdu for the 10th annual Spa China Summit.
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