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Thailand's spa and health industry

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Relaxation, detoxification, herbal medicine, beauty, massage, exports of cosmetics, soaps, skin care products, so many sides of a growing industry.

spa industry

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ENTREPRENEUR: Relax, detox, spend money, As the wellness trend sweeps the globe, Thailand's spa and health industry is campaigning to improve standards and attract well-heeled tourists by Phusadee Arunmas


spa productsThe Thai spa and healthcare business has a promising outlook, with a projection of 7-10% growth to generate up to 15 billion baht of revenue this year.

Thai exports of cosmetics, soaps and skin care products in 2011 are forecast to reach US$2.39 billion, up 25% from 2010. 

Thai spa has been recognised as one of the top five services in the world, while Thai hermit yoga postures at Phra Chetupon Wimolmangkhalaram temple and Wat Pho in Bangkok have been registered in Unesco's Memory of the World.

Phattiaporn Khiewsanun, the vice-president of the Thai Spa Association, says increased concern for overall health is a global trend, so more and more foreigners are visiting Thailand as a spa destination for seven to 10 days.

These visitors spend a lot of money as they come for health, relaxation and detoxification. Most are Europeans, familiar with spas and wellness, who seek refreshment on holiday before going back to work. 

As of February this year, there are 1,463 registered spas, health shops and beauty outlets holding certificates from the Public Health Ministry. Of the total, 454 are spa shops, but there are also many unregistered spas. 

A major problem in the development of the spa business in Thailand is rising standards for treatment and personnel, increasing demand for certified Thai spa and massage therapists domestically and internationally.

Therefore, the association began supervising the quality of spa outlets, personnel and products two years ago by awarding them silver, gold or platinum status based on international standards.

"This is to ensure that the Thai spa business has improved," said Ms Phattiaporn.

Thailand has the capacity to produce around 10,000 trained personnel to serve the industry each year, via vocational schools and universities such as Rangsit, Mahidol and Rajabhat. Fields of study have expanded to health care, medical massage and alternative medical treatment.

Vuthichai Duangratana, the deputy director-general of the Export Promotion Department, said Thai government policy since 2004 has been to push Thailand as the medical hub and spa capital of Asia.

Several government agencies and the private sector have cooperated in developing the Thai spa industry to a certain standard and character.

The department anticipates bright prospects for the export of the spa business in term of products and services, with a focus on Asian markets such as Asean, India, China and Vietnam.

Mr Vuthichai said the Thai spa industry had expanded abroad through integrated consultancy services, ranging from design and management to staff training and recruiting. Thai companies also invest in, sell franchise licences for and manage spas in other countries.

At the same time, the department also promotes Thai spas and services to draw foreigners to get treatment in Thailand.

Obstacles for Thai spa workers include work permits that are limited by quotas or high requirements on deposit guarantees, discouraging operators in other countries from recruiting Thai workers

Exports of cosmetics, soaps and skin care products are expected to reach US$2.39 billion this year, up 25% from 2010.

In the first half, Thailand shipped a total of $1.18 billion, up nearly 20% year-on-year. Five destinations accounted for 53% of total export: Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia.

Mr Vuthichai noted that Thailand has higher tariffs on the import of raw materials and packaging than rivals such as China and Malaysia. Thai products are also at a disadvantage in terms of design and quality of packaging when compared with China and South Korea.

Thailand's Food and Drug Administration still has problems with label registration and unclear requirements for pharmaceutical product approval.

The country also lacks research and development, so related government agencies should collaborate to seriously conduct R&D and assist entrepreneurs in improving production technology and efficiency on par with international producers.

Ms Phattiaporn said the association had worked with other agencies to implement supportive activities. Some 20 entrepreneurs in personal care and cosmetics will participate in a business matching event in Hong Kong later this month.

One Thai personal care product with high export potential is herbs, whose varieties recognised internationally include lemongrass, turmeric, phai (Zingiber cassumunar), mangosteen peel, rice, fragrant rice and extract of longan seed.

(Source: Bangkok Post, ENTREPRENEUR, Relax, detox, spend money, As the wellness trend sweeps the globe, Thailand's spa and health industry is campaigning to improve standards and attract well-heeled tourists, 16/08/2011, Phusadee Arunmas, link

Spa and health industry vocabulary

entrepreneur - a person who runs businesses, especially financially risky businesses, business people เจ้าของกิจการ (See Wikipedia)

relax (verb) - not doing anything or lieing down in order to calm down or resting พักผ่อน
relaxation (noun)  - the activity of resting, relaxing and not doing anything that requires lots of energy

detoxification
(noun) - treatment given to people to remove poisons (toxic substances) from their body; 2. treatment to remove alcohol and/or drugs from the blood and body and make the body health again (See Wikipedia and Google Definitions)
detox (verb, also shorter form of noun "detoxification")  

wellness - a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of healthiness and well-being, an idea used in alternative medicine that started to become more popular in the 1970s; a view of health that goes beyond a mere medical view of health, other definitions include: 1. an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence; 2. a view of health that emphasizes the state of the entire being and its ongoing development, 3. the constant, conscious pursuit of living life to its fullest potential (See Wikipedia)

trend
- a gradual change or development that produces a particular result ทิศทาง  a new development in clothing, make-up, etc แนวโน้ม
wellness trend sweeps the globe - the idea or concept of "wellness" becomes popular everywhere in the world

hub - the central or main part of something where there is most activity จุดศูนย์กลาง
health hub - a central place that people go or travel to, for health-related activities

massage therapists -
a trained worker who provides the service of massage to people หมอนวด, นักนวดกล้ามเนื้อ
medical massage - a highly trained medical therapist who works together with doctors, hospitals and clinics to provide treatments to patients recovering from disease, pain and injury (See Wikipedia)

yoga - a set of physical and mental exercises, Indian in origin, which is intended to give control over the body and mind ระบบการบริหารร่างกายและการควบคุมลมหายใจ

phai (Zingiber cassumunar) -
one kind of galangal (ข่า) family related to ginger, used medicinally in massage and food in Thailand, called plai (ไพล) and (ว่านไฟ wan-fai) in Isan language and (ปูเลย bpulai) in Northern Thai language, research shows that the herb has an active ingredient having analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, also exhibits antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and fungi (See Wikipedia)

longan - a fruit, see photo above right (See Wikipedia)
extract (verb) - take out
extract (noun) - a small part or amount taken out from a larger thing
extract of longan seed - substance and chemicals taken out of longan seeds and sold as a product

staff - workers, employees พนักงาน
personnel - the people who work for a company
trained personnel - workers trained in certain skills that they use in their job

healthcare
- the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems

improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
standards - acceptable high levels of quality and achievement มาตรฐาน

attract - to cause someone to be interested in something ดึงดูดความสนใจ

well-healed - rich
attract
well-heeled tourists - do things to make rich tourists interested (in the goods and services you are selling)

promising
- likely to be successful in the future  มีแนวโน้มที่ดี
outlook - what people think will happen in the future ภาพรวม อนาคต
promising outlook - people think that it will be successful in the future

projection
- guessing a future amount, a calculation or guess about the future based on information that you have การคาดคะเน

generate
- to produce ก่อให้เกิด create สร้าง กระตุ้นให้เิกิด
revenue - income from taxes or business activities รายได้
generate revenue - when a company receives money when it sells the goods and services it produces

cosmetics - things such as lipstick and mascara that women (and ladyboys) put on their face to look more beautiful เครื่องสำอางค์  (See Wikipedia)
forecast - what experts believe will happen in the future (based on information available now) พยากรณ์ คาดการณ์ s

services - บริการต่างๆ things produced in service industries, not a physical good that can be bought, a waitress and a cook in a restaurant provide a service, technically: a sequence of activities that does not result in ownership of the outcome (See Wikipedia on services and the goods and services continuum)

registered - officially recorded as a business with the government (and given permission to operate)

concern - a worry ความกังวล
global - throughout the world ทั่วโลก
destination - the place where a passenger or goods are going จุดหมายปลายทาง ปลายทาง  

spas
- a resort or beauty salon for relaxing personal care treatments
refreshment - 1. do some activity to feel fresh again when you feel tired; 2. something to eat or drink during an event such as a meeting or party เครื่องดื่มเพื่อความสดชื่น

outlets - stores selling a product or services, retail outlets ร้านค้า
beauty outlets - places where women go to get new hair styles, manicures, pedicures (also called beauty stores, beauty shops)

certificate - an official document that shows that a company or person has met certain standards (or passed a certain course of)
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
treatment - the process of providing medical care การรักษา 

demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company or worker follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ

alternative - something that is different from something else, especially from what is usual ทางเลือก

status - the category or classification of a person, thing, or organization สถานภาพ สถานะ
international - between countries ระหว่างประเทศ  
ensure - to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน รับรอง

capacity - the largest amount that can be produced with current resources (factory, equipment, machines, facilities) ความสามารถในการทำงาน ความสามารถ (ความจุ) ในการจัดการ

vocational - teaching the skills necessary for particular jobs การสอนวิชาชีพ

deputy - the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน

policy
- a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)

capital
- money invested in a business (See glossary)

sector
- a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
private sector - all the businesses in an economy

cooperate -
work together to achieve goals

X anticipates Y - X believes that Y will happen in the future

prospects
- the possibility that things will happen, especially something good ความเป็นไปได้ the chances of being successful (See glossary)
bright prospects - good prospects, likely to happen or succeed

focus
- the main thing it is concerned with ให้ความสำคัญ (the one or small number of things they work on hard to achieve (rather than try to do a million things and achieve nothing))
integrated - combined so that they work well together; combined so that they operate as one unit , one whole; combining into one effective system ที่รวมเข้าด้วยกัน

consult -
give advice
consultant -
an expert who gives advice
consultancy -
a small company that sells expert advice
consultancy services -
the service of expert advice (sold by consultancies)

training - to teach people how to do an activity or job การฝึกฝน
franchise - a formal agreement for someone to sell a company's products or services in a particular place การขายระบบแฟรนไชนส์ คือมีสาขาของร้านค้า เช่น 7-eleven

obstacles - something that makes it difficult to do an activity (example: we met a large rock in the middle  of the road, an obstacle we could not walk around, so we had to return the way we came)
work permits - official permission from the government for a foreign worker to work in the country

quotas
- the limited amount (that each person or company is allowed)
deposit guarantee - a sum of money which is given in advance as part of a total payment for something, also called just a "deposit" เงินมัดจำ

discouraging
- make people not want to do something
operators - businesses doing this business
recruiting - the activity of finding new workers to do a job (a company searching for new employees)

expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
year-on-year - one period this year (month, quarter, half year) compared to the same period last year
tariffs - taxes on imports (to make foreign goods less competitive in a country) พิกัดอัตราภาษีศุลกากร

import
- to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
raw materials - materials in their natural state before being processed or used in manufacturing

packaging
- the container or covering for a product while it is waiting to be sold in stores
rivals - people or companies competing for or trying to get the same thing คู่แข่ง คู่อริ
disadvantage - something that makes someone or something less effective, successful or attractive ข้อเสียเปรียบ ข้อด้อย
label - the company's name or symbol used on product packaging ชื่อ, ตรา, เครื่องหมายการค้า

registration
- recording in an official list

pharmaceutical
- connected with the production of medicines เกี่ยวกับเภสัชกรรม, เกี่ยวกับยา
approval - getting official permission to do something การอนุมัต

collaborate - to work together with someone else ร่วมมือ

conduct
- to do something in an organised way; to carry out
research and development (R&D) - projects in a company that try to design new products and services and improve existing ones, also improve production processes (See Wikipedia)
conduct R&D - do research and development

efficiency - waste little time, energy and resources in doing a task (minimize time, energy and resources in performing a task) (See glossary) การทำงานอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ คุ้มค่าเวลาและใช้พลังงานหรือต้นทุนในการผลิตน้อย เพื่อให้ได้ผลผลิตมาก

on par with - equal to
on par with international producers -
equal to foreign producers

implement - put a plan into action, make a plan work นำ แผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ นำมาใช้
supportive - helping
implement supportive activities - put plans to help into action, carry out plans to help people or companies

personal care products - 
products used for beauty and cleaning the face and body (personal hygiene) (See Wikipedia)

participate
- to take part in or become involved in an activity มีส่วน

joint venture -
a business owned and operated by two or more other businesses
joint venture partners - other companies that a company does business with in a joint venture

business matching event - an event where businesses meet possible joint venture partners

potential - the possibility of success ที่มีศักยภาพ ที่เป็นไปได้
high export potential - very likely to be an export good that sells very well (very popular, high revenue)

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