Spa & massage

Spa & massage

Spas & massage parlours contribute nearly 5 billion baht to the Thai economy with 80% of their customers foreigners. Soaps & beauty products are a rising export industry.

Thai massage

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Economics

Spa income near B5bn and rising

10/04/2012
Phusadee Arunmas

Thailand's health spas and therapeutic massage parlours continue to bring in substantial revenue for the country.

In 2008, the last year for which figures were available, the spa industry brought in 4.875 billion baht in revenue. More than 4 million people, 80% or 3.2 million of them foreigners, visited spas and massage parlours.

Therapeutic massage parlours make up 64.4% of the spa industry, health spas 31.6% and beauty massage parlours 4%. Most of these services are located in Bangkok and the main tourist provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phuket and Phangnga.

Spa businesses in Thailand also include spa consultants and private schools that are officially certified to train professional massage therapists.

Currently, representatives of public and private agencies from European countries, including Italy, Austria, Spain and Germany, are regular visitors to the country to study Thai spa services. Professionals from Asian countries have also made visits.

This year, the International Trade Promotion Department expects sales of Thai soaps and beauty products to grow 20% in the Asean region and in countries that have free-trade agreements with Thailand.

Vuthichai Duangratana, deputy director-general of the department, said the agency this year would focus on keeping its existing markets as well as expanding into new ones.

The department will set up a group of trade representatives to introduce Thai spa and beauty products to new markets in countries that have FTAs with Thailand, specifically Japan, China, India and Vietnam.

Cosmetic products with natural ingredients, such as herbal soaps, shampoos and deodorants, will be aimed at the Japanese market.

The department wants to export US$3 billion worth of beauty products and cosmetics in 2012, an increase of 20% from last year. The top five export markets are Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia. This year, exports to the US market increased by 38%, to Belgium by 48% and to Jordan by 169%. 

Despite growth in exports of spa products, Thailand is still at a disadvantage relative to China and South Korea as import duties on raw materials and goods for packaging products are high.

The International Trade Promotion Department will focus on strategies to promote R&D for raw materials and help manufacturers develop better technology based on foreign expertise. It will also assist spa product manufacturers by proposing that the Finance Ministry reduce import duties on raw materials and goods needed for packaging.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Economics, Spa income near B5bn and rising, 10/04/2012, Phusadee Arunmas, link

Spa Industry Vocabulary

spa - a resort or beauty salon for relaxing personal care treatments (See Wikipedia and spas in Thailand)
health spas
beauty spas

massage -
the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands  to relieve tension or pain (See Wikipedia and medical dictionary)

Thai massage
- part of Thai traditional medicine,  arose from "a combination of influences from Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian cultural spheres and traditions of medicine. The art as it is practiced today is likely to be the product of a 19th century synthesis of various healing traditions from all over the kingdom. Even today, there is considerable variation from region to region across Thailand, and no single routine or theoretical framework that is universally accepted among healers" นวดแผนโบราณ (See Wikipedia)

therapy - some treatment such as medicine or massage to cure a disease or health disorder
therapist -
a skilled worker who provides therapy
therapeutic (adjective)
therapeutic massage parlours - a place where massage is given for treatment (minor treatment, for a sore back, for example)
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ
certified to train professional massage therapists

income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings

Spa income near B5bn and rising

substantial - in a large amount or degree
revenue - income from taxes or business activities รายได้
substantial revenue
bring in substantial revenue

Thailand's health spas and therapeutic massage parlours continue to bring in substantial revenue for the country.

figures - statistics, numbers describing the economy
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)

In 2008, the last year for which figures were available, the spa industry brought in 4.875 billion baht in revenue. More than 4 million people, 80% or 3.2 million of them foreigners, visited spas and massage parlours. Therapeutic massage parlours make up 64.4% of the spa industry, health spas 31.6% and beauty massage parlours 4%. Most of these services are located in Bangkok and the main tourist provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phuket and Phangnga.

consultants - experts who give advice on a subject for a fee

Spa businesses in Thailand also include spa consultants and private schools that are officially certified to train professional massage therapists. Currently, representatives of public and private agencies from European countries, including Italy, Austria, Spain and Germany, are regular visitors to the country to study Thai spa services. Professionals from Asian countries have also made visits.

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
free-trade agreement (FTA) - an agreement between countries to increase trade between the countries by cutting tariffs and taxes on exports
focus - the main thing an activity is concerned with ให้ความสำคัญ
trade representatives
specifically - in an exact and detailed way

This year, the International Trade Promotion Department expects sales of Thai soaps and beauty products to grow 20% in the Asean region and in countries that have free-trade agreements with Thailand. Vuthichai Duangratana, deputy director-general of the department, said the agency this year would focus on keeping its existing markets as well as expanding into new ones. The department will set up a group of trade representatives to introduce Thai spa and beauty products to new markets in countries that have FTAs with Thailand, specifically Japan, China, India and Vietnam.

cosmetics - things such as powders, creams, lipstick, and eye liner that women put on their skin to make themselves look more beautiful (See Wikipedia) l เครื่องสำอางค์
cosmetic (adjective)
cosmetic products
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
ingredients - foods that are used with other foods in the preparation of a particular dish ส่วนประกอบ
natural ingredients
deodorants - a product that you rub or spray in your armpit to make it smell nicer

Cosmetic products with natural ingredients, such as herbal soaps, shampoos and deodorants, will be aimed at the Japanese market. The department wants to export US$3 billion worth of beauty products and cosmetics in 2012, an increase of 20% from last year. The top five export markets are Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia. This year, exports to the US market increased by 38%, to Belgium by 48% and to Jordan by 169%. 

disadvantage - something that makes someone or something less effective, successful or attractive ข้อเสียเปรียบ ข้อด้อย
import - to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
duties - taxes paid on imported goods, tariffs
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

Despite growth in exports of spa products, Thailand is still at a disadvantage relative to China and South Korea as import duties on raw materials and goods for packaging products are high.

strategies - long-term plans to achieve goals  กลยุทธ นโยบาย
expertise - a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ special skills or knowledge (gained from training, study, or work experience) ความถนัด  ความชำนาญเฉพาะทาง

The International Trade Promotion Department will focus on strategies to promote R&D for raw materials and help manufacturers develop better technology based on foreign expertise. It will also assist spa product manufacturers by proposing that the Finance Ministry reduce import duties on raw materials and goods needed for packaging.

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