About Spa Tourism

..Definition, Scope and some Disambiguation

The Definition

“Health-related services primarily mediated through the use of water – which includes some travel”.

The Scope

In the contemporary context, the scope of Spa seems to be ever expanding – involving more and more “flavors” (and causing consumer confusion).

Under the term Spa (which must always involve “water”), one may include:

  • Thermalism
  • Thalassotherapy

In the case of “spa”, a further distinction needs to be made between:

  • “Natural Spas” (e.g., thermal springs”)

  • “Man-made Spas” (such as those encountered at Hotels and Day Spa Centers)

Some Disambiguation

Today, Spa can serve the needs of “treatment” as well as “pampering” – and can do so at the same time.

It further needs to be pointed out that Spa and Wellness are not “mutually inclusive”.

Spa and Wellness are two separate concepts (and segments, practices and services).

Having said this, Services Providers, can by all means, provide “Spa” and “Wellness” under the same roof – as part of the same business.

And of course, Services Providers can provide each separately – “on its own”.

By the way, it is commonly claimed that the word SPA is an acronym (or initialism) of various Latin phrases such as "Salus Per Aquam” or "Sanitas Per Aquam" (meaning "health through water").

Conventional (natural) vs Contemporary (man-made)

As already indicated, Conventional Spas are associated with (and built around) a water source (spring or “source”).

On the other hand, Contemporary Spa can exist anywhere – without the need to be associated with an “on-site” water source “with special attributes”.

The Naming Game

Contemporary Spas adopt “qualifiers” (e.g., Destination Spa, Holistic Spa, Medical Spa, Cardio Spa, Hotel Spa, Hospital Spa etc.) in order to distinguish themselves from the herd – and appeal to certain client demographics.