Moroccan Spa Market Booming
The spa market in Morocco is booming in large part due to wellness practices. A recent report featuring data offered by SPAA Executive Director, Melinda
MOROCCO is playing a key role in helping the spa sector boom in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region – where total industry’s total revenues were USD1.7 billion in 2013, a 134% growth from 2007, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). Indeed it said Morocco had the second largest spa market in the region in 2013, with its spa industry earning USD253.1 million in 2013, behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE) USD581.6 million. Another study on the wellness and spa sector, published in 2016 by USA-based The Spa Association, this revenue increased by 14.7% since 2014, indicating a constant growth for the spa market in Morocco.
This growth is a direct result of the wellness tourism market, which has been growing in the MENA region from USD5.3 billion in 2012 to a projected USD16.6 billion in 2017, according to the GWI.
“Driving much of the wellness tourism growth is the revitalisation of ‘experiential’ wellness and indigenous practices, such as the Morocco’s historic hammams [steam rooms] and baths,” explained Beth McGroarty, director of research and public relations at GWI, to Cosmetics Business Markets. “Morocco will increasingly be a global leader in wellness tourism: ranking number 10 for projected growth among all nations between 2012 and 2017, with a roughly 15% annual growth rate. So Morocco is poised to grow dramatically larger than its USD800 million in wellness tourism expenditures at year-end 2012 within the next few years.”
This growth has been encouraged by the government, through its Vision 2020 framework for promoting Moroccan tourism, which involves active help for sustainable development and the use of natural resources via traditional products and practices in spas and hammams. The policy has been helped through receiving full support from of King Mohammed VI.
“The rich tradition of the Moroccan hammam and the use of argan oil are two other great attractions for the Moroccan spa-goer but there’s a huge opportunity to extend that through the emphasis of other natural resources, like figue de Barbarie [Barbary figs], olives, roses, and even the desert sand settings and the climate in general,” said Beth McGroarty.
Another factor boosting growth is the comparative safety of the country compared to Israel, Egypt or Tunisia, for instance, all of which have been suffering from instability and terrorism noted Melinda Minton, executive director of The Spa Association. “This shifts a lot of the tourist traffic to Morocco”, she told Cosmetics Business Markets. Morocco is also accessible by low cost flights from Europe, which makes it even easier for tourists looking for a quick relaxation break. On the 50 spas present today in the country, 90% are hotel spas, according to a study led in 2014 by Intelligent Spas, an independent research firm specialising in the spa industry, whereas 17% of branded standalone spas are local spa brands operating in Morocco only and 17% are international spa brands which also operate at least one spa in at least one other region.
One of the emerging trends of these past three years is the quest for natural cares and places.
“Spa goers are looking for a total time out, and wellness/spa resorts are increasingly shifting their focus from glitzy, amenity-driven, ‘exotic’ luxury to intensely authentic and nature-driven experiences,” explained Beth McGroarty. As a result, spa products available in Moroccan spas often focus on health, rejuvenation and skin treatments, based on the Moroccan natural ingredients, such as argan oil, olive and Barbary fig oils, common in every spa or luxury resort in Morocco within soaps, cream, scrubs, masks or body oil.
Among new spas opening later this year, include The Oberoi resort, in Marrakesh, that will feature Moroccan hammams and ayurvedic treatments. Meanwhile, Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism has prioritised the development of thermal spas offering local mineral waters to impart special health benefits to visitors, working with the Moroccan Spa Association (A-SPA-MAROC).