The recently formed World Spa Organisation (WSO), positioned as a Spa Collective aiming to connect the industry across the globe, now has ambassadors in 49 countries and is preparing to launch a massage competition.
Says Sandy Fuhr, a South African beauty professional who co-founded WSO along with Italian spa professionals Andrea Bovero and Laura Grazioli: “We are a large community connecting thousands of professionals worldwide, united by the will to substantiate the sector through the highest training and professional standards recognised on a global level. Between the founders and board members of WSO, we all have an extended international network of professionals in the industry. This gave us an easy transition into elevating WSO into what it has already become, in such a short time, by recognising and being recognised by such important figures in the world of spa, massage and beauty.
“The WSO believes in uniting the different Spa & Wellness Associations, most of which operate at a national level, in order to create a worldwide network that can contribute to elevate the standards in the spa & beauty Industry. We have the intention to bring all associations together, yet remain independent, giving us all the opportunity to speak from one platform.”
Bovero is the WSO’s chairperson, Grazioli is Finance & Marking advisor and Fuhr the Quality & Education director. Others on the board are Ian Fuhr (Business advisor); Roberta Bozzini (Quality advisor); and advisors Fatima Lima Pereira, Diego Tomatis, Isabela Vasile and Vittoria Chiappero.
The WSO ambassador for South Africa is Dene Van Der Merwe. There are ambassadors in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, UK (Lauren Gibson), UAE, USA, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
South Africans Charne le Roux and Wynand Goosen are on the WSO Scientific Committee, with Feroza Fakir on the PR Committee. WSO Educators & Trainers Committee members include Menna Kleine, Thando Mangisa, D’Miele Steyl and Unaiza Suliman. Other WSO names new to the industry role players in South Africa are Denise Fairhurst, Chaand Barendse, Joanne Cohen, Alida Fourie, Farnaaz Hayat, Nicole Lavery, Elanza Stander and Rozanne van der Merwe.
Fuhr notes that massage is an important focus of attention for the WSO. She continues: “We accepted a challenge to organise the most important competition of massage therapists in the world, with an accredited jury composed on well-known international experts from all over the globe.
“Our aim is to contribute to the development of the spa massage industry on an international level. Details on the competition criteria will be syndicated soonest.”
In addition to its other activities, the WSO offers three courses: Spa & Beauty Manager; Spa & Beauty Therapist; and Massage Therapist.
Fuhr explains: “Courses offered through WSO are approved by the Spa Academy Lifexcellence, which is well-known internationally for its high standards in education and training. These courses are recognised by international facilities and recommended by the best spas based on past experience of working with Lifexcellence.” (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)