In Mid-2004, the Tourism Commission of Hong Kong SAR Government commissioned a private consultant to conduct a consultancy study to explore the demand of spa and resort facilities in Hong Kong. Since then, the tourism industry has agreed that there is potential for spa and resort development. The public in general support the development of spa and resort facilities in Hong Kong, which ties into Hong Kong’s long-term development plans for tourism development.
Spa resorts have continued to develop throughout Southeast Asia, and in recent years, the market has become increasingly competitive. Today, virtually every hotel at the 5-star level has or is developing a spa concept. Spas are no longer something to enjoy on holidays; they have become a private yet convenient hideaway where people can pamper and nurture themselves on a regular basis. The popularity of wellness holidays and spa stays is growing.
A total of 29.5 million visitors, four times the size of the local population, visited Hong Kong in 2008, representing a 4.7 percent increase from a year earlier. Continuing to grow visitor numbers, especially mainland China visitors, is a goal of local tourism authorities. Of the visitors to hotel spas, 59 percent are hotel guests and the rest are leisure guests. This suggests that the development of spas and resort facilities in Hong Kong will benefit the local tourism industry. Research found that the number of spas in China and Hong Kong has grown by more than 500% since 2002, with 190 spas now open and operating in Hong Kong and China, and the industry is forecast to grow of 10% between 2008 and 2010.
Recent worldwide economic turmoil will likely lead to a short-term slow-down in consumer spending on luxury products and services. However, long term development of this sector in Hong Kong and the neighboring cities is bright.
There has been significant growth recently in demand for spa and resort facilities in Hong Kong. This is reflected by the development of a growing number of urban spas, such as facilities within urban hotels, day spas, private clubs, and beauty salons. Local-market usership of these resorts is high and a competitive resort product is likely to increase the growth and range of visitors to Hong Kong. The increasing numbers of meetings, incentive, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) and the Hong Kong Government’s continued focus on MICE and tourism development could spell continued interest among developing in spas and resort facilities.
Spa-going has been an integral part of Hong Kong outbound travel. About 65% of women and 80% of men surveyed visit a spa at least once per business and leisure trip. Hong Kong residents, who used to visit the renowned spas in Bali and Phuket in the past are demanding similar facilities closer to home. In terms of spa visitor profile, the average visitor is becoming slightly younger, although still middle-aged, married and male. There is an increasing trend for family visitors as well. The growing popularity and long-term trend for development may present significant opportunities for U.S. suppliers of spa related products and services.
By Mei Yung