Wellness tourism is becoming a popular section of tourism with the increasing number of spas opening up across East Africa . It is therefore becoming increasingly important to have some form of quality control and certification process in place to ensure that local and international guests, who come with high expectations, actually get value for their money.

The level of sophistication in various spas across the region is something that cannot be ignored. Take for example the Uzuri Spa (Leopard beach Resort & Spa ) in Kenya, which is so highly sophisticated it is bound to attract an elite market. Hotels are coming up with their own branded spars and parlours. Industry leaders such as Sarova, Serena and Kempinski have opened up their own spars with in-house creations Mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park where the naming ceremony will take place...which speak to the originality of their respective brands. The trend which is quite unstoppable now has spread and is now part of packages offered to tourists. Tourism in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda has embraced the trend quite well. Tourists on Africa safaris get to enjoy some pampering and relaxation in the spars. Newly opened hotels and lodges especially have top of the range spas which are helping them compete quite favourably in the hotel tourism market. The Spa Association of Africa is the continent’s leading professional body under which quality spas come together and which provides certification for members in line with an elaborate audit process.

Talking about the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA), Janine Shipra, who is a Board Member and its Vice Chair, says SWAA is an organization created to develop and maintain internationally-recognized standards and education for the spa industry in Africa. It works together with tourism boards and tour operators to set quality standards and encourage education and preventive health measures within the spa, health, and wellness industry. SWAA car3efully vets all spas seeking membership in the association, and gives advice where changes and improvements are necessary and then issue a certificate of membership. A guest visiting a member spa can be sure to get services that are up to standard.

SWAA is today an authority on spas and wellness tourism in East Africa and across the African continent ensuring that guests get value for money. Some of the hotels and lodges that have adopted the spa trend include; the Serena both in Kenya and Uganda, the Leopard Beach resort in Kenya, the award winning Lion in the Sun in Malindi, and the Antara Spa Hyatt Regency at the foot of the Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam. Spa and wellness tourism is gradually being incorporated into the tourism industry. It is indeed a good and worthwhile time spent being relaxing and being pampered.