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Leisure Media - Lynne McNees

Spa People: 20th anniversary issue

Lynne McNees

In 2050, we envision an industry which has significantly expanded stature to influence policy and society

Lynne McNees International Spa Association photo: Echo Starmaker Photography

How has the spa industry evolved?
When I joined the International Spa Association (ISPA) in the 90s, the modern spa industry was just beginning to emerge and rebrand. In a quarter of a century, the public perception of spas has shifted dramatically and they’re now accessible and enjoyed by men and women from all walks of life.

During that period, ISPA and its partners, including Spa Business magazine, have influenced the industry’s growth as an international economic force. They’ve guided the development of a new era of spa leaders who adeptly marry spa’s holistic wellness approach with the realities of running successful businesses.

One of ISPA’s enduring contributions is its US Spa Industry Survey which launched in 2000 (see p104). Its data archive benchmarks the health and direction of the spa industry over time, giving us a clear view of the industry’s status and allowing us to set aggressive but attainable goals for growth.

What milestones can you pinpoint?
Philosophically: the world has had a collective awakening to the need for ‘life/work balance’ – a concept I know continues to evolve because I would have called it ‘work/life balance’ only a year ago. The spa world should be recognised with some credit for this new mindset.

Professionally: just last year, the US spa industry’s contribution to the economy surpassed US$20 billion (€18.8 billion, £16.3 billion) for the first time – a goal we’ve been discussing for years.

What key innovations can you identify?
The incorporation of tech into traditional treatments has undoubtedly expanded services and made them more effective than ever. But, we’ve been smart. While open to innovation we’ve also been fiercely protective of modalities that have been proven across hundreds of years.

How do you hope the industry will look in 2050?
The ISPA Foundation is challenging spa leaders worldwide to double the industry’s economic impact in a decade. That’s long before 2050.
We envision an industry which has significantly expanded stature to influence policy and society, while never losing sight of its unique culture.

And, as always, ISPA will continue to use its strength to promote policies and legislation to help guide spa businesses through this era of rapid change.

More from spa industry leaders...

In celebration of Spa Business’ 20th anniversary, industry leaders take a look at how far the sector has come since the magazine’s inception in 2003, share personal career highlights and reveal their plans and ideas for the future.

View next: Mia Kyricos

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3
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