Codes of conduct for Indigenous-inspired spa and wellness tourism

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Issue Date
2015-07-22
Authors
Ell, Laura Dawn
License
Subject
codes of conduct
ecotourism
Indigenous
spa
tourism
wellness
Abstract
While the growing global tourism industry currently provides best practices guidance and certification possibilities for ecotourism, green spas, and Indigenous tourism, no codes of conduct exist for spas operations that aim to sustainably integrate Indigenous-inspired healing modalities into their menu of services. I interviewed both Indigenous healers and wellness experts around the globe who incorporate ancient healing practices into spas. My analysis of these data culminated with recommended codes of conduct for Indigenous-inspired spas. The need for cultural sensitivity and guidelines unique to this sector are growing. Compared to examples such as handcrafts or cultural dance, wellness experiences are more personal, spiritual or at times even ceremonial. Spas that do not follow the codes of conduct may exploit culture amongst presenting other serious risks. Benefits to Indigenous communities when following codes of conduct include meaningful employment and the preserving of ancient healing practices that otherwise may be at risk of erosion. Benefits to destination spa or day spa clients include experiential cross-cultural learning and healing body therapies that reduce stress or improve well-being.
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