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Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. What’s a three-letter word beginning with S that’s one of the fastest growing areas of our tourism and hospitality industry? No, not THAT WORD.
05 Apr 2010 12:00

image Written By : Sun Fiji Newsroom. What’s a three-letter word beginning with S that’s one of the fastest growing areas of our tourism and hospitality industry?
No, not THAT WORD.
Think of a spa.
Spas have become an essential part of the many attractions Fiji offers on the global travel stage. It’s a boom industry.
A spa is now a near compulsory amenity for the upscale hotels and resorts. They need to provide quality treatments that meet the wellness and beauty interests of guests from Fiji and the world. Pampering and pleasure, health and peace of mind.
You see it in the words “and Spa” now sported after the names of a resort or hotel. These spas also provide growing employment opportunities for women.
A big part of the credit for the growth of this professional spa industry in Fiji goes to an enthusiastic and talented Nadi businesswoman, Debra Sadranu.
Debra is the founder/managing director of both Senikai Spas – operating at 16 locations around the country and the South Pacific Academy of Beauty Therapy.
The academy trains many of the people who work in the spa industry, both at Senikai’s spas and others.
Its internationally-recognised courses enable hotels and resorts here to staff their spas with people who can meet the needs of guests.
So who better to ask to open the window for a look into the spa industry and what it offers both tourists and locals alike. Debra helped provide us the following insight.


Debra had a passion for Fiji (and was a regular visitor). She was seeking a lifestyle change. So she moved to Fiji from Australia in 1997.
She had a background in sales and training, before moving into the beauty therapy business in Australia.
Debra studied in Sydney with the Academy of Advanced Beauty Therapy (AABTh), where she gained her qualifications. She went on to operate her own salon.
In Fiji, she was surprised to see that there were no facilities for training in beauty therapy or any qualified therapists.
She has been quoted as saying: “I saw opportunity here. It was more the wow factor of growing, giving girls jobs. I’ve never held back. I’ve always been a driving force. I’m an ideas person.”
She opened the South Pacific Academy of Beauty Therapy in 1998, first in Lautoka. Now it is well established down the road in Martintar, Nadi, and across in Samabula, Suva.
The key course offered is a one-year full-time Diploma in Beauty & Spa Therapy.
The academy also offers certificate courses in massage therapy, grooming and make-up and post-graduate spa management.
Final assessments are conducted by the Academy of Advanced Beauty Therapy Cidesco Section Australia. CIDESCO is the Swiss-based Comité International D’Esthétique Et De Cosmétologie, described as the world’s major international beauty therapy association.
The academy became what Debra calls a “fabulous career opportunity for the young women of Fiji. Qualifications they get when they graduate enable them to seek employment both in Fiji and abroad”.
The opening of the academy was that window to establishing today’s industry, with all its value to tourism and employment.


Within the first year of opening the academy, Debra was approached by several hotels and resorts desperately seeking expertise to look after their tourists.
By the end of 1998, Debra had established Senikai Spas and opened the first three of the company’s chain of spas. The demand for spa therapy is evident.
The spa industry has become a vital part of the Fiji tourism and hospitality industry. Almost every hotel and resort of any standing now operating as a Resort & Spa.


Thousands of years ago the Romans used floral water baths for beautifying and pampering themselves. Ancient India, China and the Native American all used stone and herbal therapies for health and wellbeing.
Debra says this country’s own Fijian ancestors used plants, herbs and muds for healing.
Today in an increasingly hectic world, spa treatments provide the ultimate experience for people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. People who feel good generally look good.
A whole new industry has built up around the development of specialist treatments and services to help clients ‘renew’ their minds and bodies and improve the sense of well being.
Some of the treatments may be offered as an extension of beauty salon services.
Others require more space and equipment than a salon can provide.
They are available at day spa, fitness centres, gyms, health resorts and leisure clubs, often within four or five star hotels.
The treatments are provided in a calm, peaceful environment, allowing clients to relax, be pampered, unwind and emerge looking and feeling healthier.
There are many types of spas, to serve a variety of needs.
From destination and resort spas, where the client can go for a particular treatment or series of treatments, and from wellness centres to rehabilitation centres.
There are spas to fit every need.

In Fiji we predominantly have resort/hotels spas.
The majority of the hotels and resorts have added them.
They come in many sizes.
The hospitality industry has seen its trends, with each hotel and resort hoping to outdo the other.
The past decades have seen the swimming pool (1960s); the tennis court (1970s), the golf course and the health club (1980s). The ‘spa’ (1990s) is now a must, and considered a vital part of a resort or hotel.
Unlike a swimming pool, tennis court, or golf course which, once built, can’t be appreciably changed, the spa lends itself to evolving services.
It can be adjusted to suit the changing demands of the guests.
Emphasises Debra: “Resort spas are better aimed at relaxation and de-stressing and ensuring our tourists leave our beautiful islands totally pampered and rejuvenated.”
When they do there’s a good chance Debra, either through her spas or her academy graduates, will have helped in this.

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