Spa wellness industry in Korea has been growing steadily, offering varied and unique programs for customers who want to cope with increasing stress. To attract savvy customers, spas or wellness centers have tended to pay attention to such trendy ideas as eco-ism, naturalism, indigenous culture on one hand, and high-tech treatment devices or science-based materials on the other.
As the words like wellbeing or wellness has become widespread, Korean government has been guiding and supporting for various plans in private sector, relative to healthier future lifestyles. The government initiated a couple of projects to link IT with wellness and healthcare industry. Recently, the Korea National Tourism Organization has designated 25 spa resorts and wellness centers across the nation as highly recommended wellness tourist attractions.
Small and medium-sized spas are still striving to survive the slow economy. Also, spas in Korea has long been suffering from legal restrictions which ban therapists to practice massages. They are only allowed to apply cosmetics or to use small devices. It is the same case for the skincare industry. Massages that give pressures on the body are allowed only to licensed healthcare practitioners and visually handicapped masseurs/masseuses. To grow their businesses, spas are actively seeking for collaboration with cosmetics, healthcare, fitness, nutrition, tourism, or others.
Summarised by Ha-young Song (Mr.), President of the Korean Spa Wellness Society.