ASEAN to raise spa standards and unify the industry

The Global Wellness Tourism Economy report announced on November 2018 that Wellness Tourism has grown from a $539 billion market in 2015 to $639 billion in 2017, at a rate more than twice as fast as the tourism industry in general. Likewise, it is forecast to grow even faster through 2022 with 7.5% increases annually to reach $919 billion.

The best news for the region is that Asia is the eye-opening growth leader, with wellness trips growing a massive 33% in just the past two years (1).

It is also good news that ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states have developed the ASEAN Spa Services Standards initiative. The project has been in development since 2011, in answer to the increasing demand for authentic and traditional Asian spa experiences, and auditing has been taking place since 2016. The ten ASEAN member states of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam worked together to develop these standards while maintaining the greatest respect for cultural diversity and traditional heritage.

The ASEAN Spa Standard has been developed under the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015, with the goal to “Develop an ASEAN Spa Standard with a certification process.” (2)

What is the main objective of this standard?

This development aims to raise the quality of human resources, services and facilities via a united spa industry agreement across member states that establishes professional levels of spa in seven criteria and requirements: Place, Service, People, Products, Equipment, Management and Environment. (NB These standards do not apply to the medical profession.)

The ASEAN Spa Standard certification identifies spa operators and spa clients running professional businesses while incorporating cultural touches in their spas. Operators are audited in all seven criteria and must attain a minimum score of 80% to achieve certification.

The ASEAN Spa Services Standard auditing process was initiated in each ASEAN member country since 2016. The first batch of certified spa operators will be announced and receive their certification of ASEAN Spa Services Standard at The 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum: ATF 2019, Vietnam.

Request an audit for your spa

Any spa businesses interested in being audited, check out assessment information at ASEAN Spa Services Standard and contact your country’s representative organization.


  1. Global Wellness Institute. Global Wellness Tourism Economy. 2018 November.
  2. ASEAN Secretariat. ASEAN Spa Services Standard. Jakata2016.

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