I recently met up with the newly elected SWAA Board Director Kamal Chraibi in sunny Marrakech for quick chat about the 3rd Annual SWAA congress in 2017, plans for SWAA in North Africa and the ambitious plans for tourism in Morocco.
Why the focus on North Africa?
It’s important to develop an African identity and work hard on building treatments that are unique to North Africa, that you can’t find anywhere in world. For example Morocco with its use of Moroccan spices and herbs such as black soap, ghassoul and cactus oil which you will find specifically in Morocco are unique elements that make spa and wellness in Morocco unique.
What will be the first focus in North Africa?
The first focus will be on the educational aspect. Improving schools, training, setting guidelines and techniques unique to Africa. A lot of newly qualified staff sometimes don’t know which direction to take in their career so we want to build talent and work with the educational sector to make this happen.
The 3rd Annual SWAA Congress is going to be held in Morocco 2017, what can investors, owners and spa industry expect from the event?
Firstly, the event has the support of King Mohamed VI of Morocco and the government has now launched a national program for the promotion of health and well being in partnership with the public sector and organisations managed by private investors. They can expect good promotion of spas and tourism. Wellness is a part of Moroccan culture and we have seen immense changes in the last 10 years. It’s more modern, there are new approaches and techniques. Every hotel from 3 to 5 star ratings will have a spa and hammam so it’s an area worth improving and promoting because of its impact on the country and economy.
How will Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, Education and Health get behind the event and support?
Since 2010 King Mohamed VI of Morocco officially opened the program Objective, the Moroccan government is looking to increase the number of tourists to 10 million a year by 2020, a number which stood at 8.3 million tourists in 2009. The spa and wellness industry already represents a market share of about 500 billion US dollars, representing 14% of the tourism market so with the support of King Mohamed VI we will have different entities involved as the objective for 2020 is to establish Morocco as a well being destination on an international tourism platform. From education, training to employment, we want to emphasise the importance of working with SWAA. Tourism is continuously growing in Morocco so all the industries need to work together.
Who will the B2B which is going to be launched be appealing to? And is there an opportunity for African manufacturers to meet hospitality and spa clients with 5-10 meetings booked?
It will be appealing to product owners, producers, professionals within the spa and wellness industry. It will touch on different industries so of course B2B will be an essential part of the event. There will be opportunities for manufacturers and spas to come together and have direct contact with providers and exchange ideas.
What do you hope attendees will take away from the event?
The hope is that the spa and wellness industry grows from this, that the tourism is impacted from the exchanges. Morocco has positioned itself in a list of eight countries recognised as a health and well being destination. It will bring more clients, more business. The aim of the Moroccan tourism industry is to reach 678.5 billion US dollars in revenue in 2017. It is a bold number but we are hoping to communicate at the congress that health and well being is a big plus. The area is increasing by 10% each year so the industry is growing and it’s worth noting again that the King of Morocco is supportive of this growth. We want delegates to leave feeling they have experienced a good congress that highlights the importance of well being.
Kamal Â Chraibi graduated from the Engineering University of Paris, and then went on to study at the Culinary Art Institute in Paris. He went on to further his education through different trainings to acquire numerous skills in the Hospitality Industry with Choice Hotel International, Starwood, and Kinseth Hospitality. Kamal then became an apprentice of Master Chef Eric Truglas in the United States for 8 years. After working as an Executive Chef in several Five-Star hotels in the US he became a Hotel Manager for various high-end hotels.
Upon returning to Morocco, his experience led him to offer consulting to different clients in the hospitality industry. Kamal became involved in the Spa World as a representative of Aspen Management and supervised the creation of several Spas, both in Casablanca and other resort areas in the Country.
Today, he continues his consulting work in all the facets of the Hospitality Industry.