DISPELLING the negative perception some have of the wellness and spa industry is the biggest challenge faced by legitimate operators.
Malaysian Association of Wellness and Spa (Mawspa) vice-president I Gavin Foo said a few bad apples are spoiling the image of the industry.
Foo was referring to the handful of operators who run spa businesses like massage parlours as a front for illicit activities like prostitution.
“It has been happening a long time when legitimate businesses had to deal with negative perceptions because of a few black sheep.
“We have to work very hard to change people’s mindset, ’’ he said, adding the industry has been struggling since last year due to Covid-19.
“We have been working on strengthening the image and good name of the spa and wellness industry by coming up with a rating system, ’’ he said.
Foo added in 2011, the National Spa Council which is made up of members of the spa industry and related government agencies, was established to address this issue.
“We created an official rating system for spas which is used by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, the idea is to elevate the local spa industry to meet international standards.
“With the rating system (one to five stars), a lot of misconceptions can be dispelled as only those receiving four or five-star ratings are eligible to participate in the ministry’s promotional campaigns.”
The spa rating assessment covers hygiene, the cleanliness of the premises, product knowledge and storage as well as staff training and expertise.
Mawspa has some 500 members and many are located in hotels, commercial centres and tourist centres.
“With the industry now open under a conditional movement control order, we hope that more people would support us, ’’ said Foo.