The Asia Pacific Spa & Wellness Council (APSWC) was formed in March ’06 – the result of an informal roundtable where 76 industry professionals from across the region gathered in Singapore to map out a development strategy to improve and promote the spa industry for the benefit of all. The roundtable was initiated by the heads of spa associations with a view to bringing the region together; to identify common problems and opportunities, and find ways to improve the business for all. APSWC was officially registered as an association in Singapore in July 2007, with the mission: to act as a bridging mechanism between countries to promote, protect, educate, and develop the spa & wellness industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Subsequent changes in the name were required by the Singaporean Authorities and ‘Council’ was dropped and replaced with ‘Coalition;.
Since its launch, the Asia-Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition (APSWC) has grown in size and reputation and by 2011 united some 16 associations across 14 countries, with a network extending around the globe. It is a regional body which links the national spa associations of the Asia-Pacific nations. The Coalition (formerly Council) was formed to meet the challenges presented by the evolution and growth of the Asian Pacific spa industry. In addition to gathering and communicating market information and resources, APSWC’s planned activities for the region include: identifying and recommending appropriate standards, training resources, and performance benchmarks and establishing a code and best practices format to be adopted throughout the region.
Working across a multitude of time zones, with language and cultural issues, and spa industries in varying stages of growth and development, has been a distinct challenge. The regional spa industry events that enabled board members to meet regularly in the early years have all but dissipated, making it even more difficult to maintain the momentum of the coalition. The initial five task forces of People, Products, Planet, Profit and Professionalisation has grown to include Traditional Therapies, but the global challenges of recent years has taken its toll, and by late 2011, these were no longer as active as anticipated and were due to be revamped.
From an industry that was initially all about love and understanding it had quickly grown into an organization that was more business orientated, seeking to build brands, expand Industry networks and partnerships as it looked to establish the scientific basis to much of what we (as an industry) had long claimed. In 2011, together with our strategic research partner, Intelligent Spas, the APSWC initiated the first ever regional research across all 42 Asia Pacific Countries. This was the only year that the research was conducted, despite plans otherwise, however we do hope to renew this with appropriate research partners in the future.
The primary focus of the APSWC in keeping with its mission has been the Strategic Planning Forum. This ‘by invitation only’ event has been held (almost) annually, with delegates from over 20 countries attending to collectively establish a strategic plan for our regional industry. This Strategic Planning Forum was last held in 2013, and subsequently relaunched as a ‘Round Table’ in 2017.