Regulation and the implementation of high standards are necessary if Barbados is to become known as a regional destination for high class spas.
In fact, Manager of The Spa at Sandy Lane, Tracey Archer, said today that officials in the massage therapy and aesthetics fields in the island were already making strides towards setting common standards, starting with the educational institutions.
“I am actually on the board of the Barbados National Standards Institute and I am dealing with the regulation of massage therapy and aesthetics. I am also on the board of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. I try to be on as many boards as possible because I think it is important that we regulate it, get it to the standard where it should be because it is not even close.
“Right now we want to look at getting Barbados as a spa destination. So for that to happen you have to start from the ground level and work up, which is education,” said the manager.
She made the statement this afternoon as the spa announced that it had won the Travel & Leisure #1 Hotel Spa Award in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas.
“What we have done is that persons in Barbados who work in the industry, top persons, have met and we have started looking at regulation in terms of what your studies need to be in terms of the hours needed; if you are owning an establishment what that establishment should have, but once you do this it has to go across the board, so it is going to take a while. But at least we are starting from the bottom, it is not enough to say what we have is not good enough, it has got to change,” said Archer.
The programme at the polytechnic had to change as well, she stated, although she confirmed it was a good training ground. She said though it needed several “tweaks here and there” so the students would understand what it is really like to work in the spa environment.
“We know most people are not going to have spas of this [Sandy Lane] level in Barbados, but you need to have people at a certain calibre and standard. We need to get people at a certain standard.” She said each year she interviewed the entire class of about 16 students from the SJPP and chose the two best for an intensive six week attachment at The Spa at Sandy Lane. It was an important training experience, she said, which allowed the students to realise it was about more than the treatments offered, but the entire package, including etiquette and conduct.
“I think that is really, really important and we want to put that into the schooling going forward – etiquette, how you should look, all that kind of thing.”
There was a Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association, she said, that had met recently in Antigua and which was looking at this same issue of standards across the region. (LB)