Southern Cross University tourism lecturer Meredith Wray in Bangalow A&I; Hall doing research into the benefits to the tourism industry of health and wellness festivals.
Southern Cross University tourism lecturer Meredith Wray in Bangalow A&I; Hall doing research into the benefits to the tourism industry of health and wellness festivals. Jacklyn Wagner

Byron Shire's future in good hands

THE economic future of Byron Shire lies in the masseuse’s rejuvenating hands, according to a yet-to-be-released study on the booming ‘wellness’ industry.

Southern Cross University senior lecturer Dr Meredith Wray, who is finalising a study into the spa and wellness industries in Australia for the Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre, said Byron Bay was perfectly placed to profit from its ‘green and clean’ reputation.

“People are having shorter breaks and working harder, so they are seeking rejuvenation,” Dr Wray said.

The study found the wellnessindustry, which included everything from facials to aura readings, could not be artificially manufactured in any old regional centre, Dr Wray said.

Byron Shire had a long history as a healing place.

“The waterholes have been used by women for birthing for thousands of years,” she said.

The study said the number of small, independent spa and wellness providers in Byron set it apart from other rejuvenation regions.

“Byron has a diversity of practitioners, from alternative medicine to spiritual services,” she said.

“It is set up so you can start off with a massage and next time get a tarot reading.”

The senior lecturer dismissed the idea there was already a flood offeel-good practices in Byron.

“A lot more could be done to market the area as a spa and wellness destination,” Dr Wray said.

She said Byron Bay’s population could not sustain the number ofwellness practitioners in the area and tourism was essential forjobs.

And it’s not all about money for Byron’s healers.

“The practitioners I spoke to for the study had a real concern for their client’s health,” she said.

Dr Wray said the new dedicated Byron Bay tourism officer, appointed this month, was a much-needed addition to the local tourism industry.

“Up until now there has been no co-ordinated effort to market Byron Bay as a tourist destination,” she said.

“We have a great opportunity here to be a leading centre for this boom industry.”

She would like to see any future campaign focus on Byron as a spa and wellness hub.

Alternative wellbeing events, such as last week’s Starlight Wellbeing Expo in Bangalow, were also a bonus for the area, Dr Wray said.




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