Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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A Scenario Analysis of the 2030 German Spa Tourist and Tourism

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posted on 2021-11-13, 11:32 authored by Wolf, Natalie

Tourism is affected by growing transformations of social change, globalisation and wealth creation. Uncertainty surrounding the development of the factors makes it difficult to predict and provide contingency for the future. This is especially so for the spa tourism industry given its enormous figures in revenue growth over the past two decades. Given the growth of the spa industry and the key uncertainties that will shape its future, it is important to understand how the landscape of the spa industry might change in the next few decades. Although there has been research done on the future of spa tourism, for example by the Global Spa and Wellness Summit, their work requires more development and is not country-specific. In response, this study is of value as it explores the future of spa tourism in terms of creating multiple potential pathways. It does this from the perspective of the German spa industry, and addresses the interrelationships of these uncertainties. By following the specific methodology of scenario planning, this study develops a scenario analysis of the future of the German spa industry and answers the questions “What will the German spa tourist and spa tourism industry look like in 2030?” The study consisted of 22 semi-structured interviews with a diverse expert panel in Germany. Interview participants identified twelve key drivers which were discussed in light of existing literature. The two most significant key drivers identified in the interviews were then positioned along a two- key matrix with the demanding consumer on the horizontal axis and new distribution of wealth on the vertical axis. Based on these drivers the study presents four plausible yet challenging and completely different scenarios for the development of the German spa tourist and tourism in 2030. The scenarios include prosperous society, highlighting a positive future for German spas due to the growth of the middle class and thus increasing demands and a multifaceted spa clientele; the power elite, concentrating on the super rich spa consumer and their extravagant consumer behaviour; middle class on the brink, presenting a squeezed middle class and a gradient decline of the spa industry; and the welfare state, a gloomy scenario with almost no spa tourism left. Through examination of significant questions and strategic implications, the study concludes that the spa industry needs to challenge its current linear ways of thinking by adopting new insights and perspectives of the future. Furthermore, the industry needs to establish standardised criteria for accreditation and operation of spa facilities. This needs to include a focus on staff training in order to continue to attract the German spa tourist and thus remain profitable in the future.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Tourism Management

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Yeoman, Ian