Due to economic stress, people are opting for “spacations” rather than expensive vacations. “Instead of buying a dress, they might get a massage,” said Lucie Brosseau, executive manager of Spas Relais Santé, an industry association of 28 spas in Quebec.

A growing number of spas now offer clients exotic, vacation-like experiences. Spa Savannah of St. Henri is an African-themed spa offering spacations that include aromatherapy massage, lunch, a Comfort Zone facial, body treatments and more.

Industry experts agree that spa treatments may be recession-proof to a certain extent. Meanwhile, a 2006 study by the Canadian Tourism Commission noted that the spa market is in danger of over-saturation, particularly at resorts and hotels. According to the study, this has made the spa industry much more competitive, and smaller day spas are expected to be hit the hardest in an economic slowdown.

–The Montreal Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, February 14, 2009