Siam Wellness Group Plc, one of the biggest spa chains in Thailand, will launch its first luxury spa outlet in Yangon by the fourth quarter of this year.
Assistant managing director Narun Wiattanakrai told The Nation that the company expected to sign a memorandum of understand with an international hotel chain by the middle of this year before opening its spa outlet in the hotel.
Making inroads into Myanmar is in line with the company’s plan to capitalise on the upcoming Asean Economic Community. Myanmar is considered a lucrative business for the spa and wellness industry. The country has recently seen an influx of tourists while there are few luxury-spa operators in the market.
“The faster and most convenient way to do business in Myanmar is to operate a spa outlet inside a hotel. We visited Yangon last year and discussed with a few potential partners who are interested in having us manage their spa outlets, or to open spas in their premises,” he said.
Siam Wellness is looking at three possibilities in the Myanmar market. It could be a joint venture, a franchise, or a management contract. Investment in each outlet would require between Bt15 million to Bt20 million, very similar to a branch in Thailand.
“Our management team is currently looking into the pros and cons of each business model,” said Narun.
In Thailand, the company started the business 16 years ago with its Let’s Relax spa in Chiang Mai. The group now has 11 spas in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, and Hua Hin. It operates three spa brands – “Let’s Relax” “RarinJinda Wellness Spa” and “Sabaii by Let’s Relax”.
“Operating a spa in Myanmar would not be much different from Thailand as the main customers will be tourists. We see similarities in the service,” said Narun.
Yangon and Mandalay will be the prime locations as they are the two most popular tourist destinations. However, the company will also cater to high-income local people.
“A lot of them [Myanmar people] are our customers in Bangkok. They like to come for health service in hospitals in Thailand and they also visit spas,” he added.
“There would be only a 10-15 per cent difference in pricing and cost of construction but we are still studying it,” he said.
The company has consulted its legal adviser on Myanmar rules but it will also have to ensure that the plan complies with Stock Exchange of Thailand rules.
Source: The Nation