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Spa and Wellness Association looks for signature Maya massage

The Spa and Wellness Association has collaborated with BELTRIADE on a spa competition that started today in Belize City. The aim of the competition is to create a signature spa experience for visitors and Belizeans alike. General Manager of the Enterprise and Innovation Division at BELTRAIDE Lejia Melanie Gideon says they want the product or service to have a Maya trademark.

Lejia Melanie Gideon – GM, Enterprise and Innovation Division, BELTRAIDE
“What makes us fundamentally Belizeans is the Mayan heritage that we have. So it is a Maya Spa experience. We would like to also take that brand that we create and export it so if a Belizean goes to another country in the Caribbean or somewhere else and ask if they have the May Spa experience and so that is how we are coming about, that is the objective to create a national brand for the spa industry.”

Gideon says that BELTRAIDE is taking part in the competition because its many clients have products or services that can be incorporated into the industry. We caught up with the team mid-afternoon and asked how authentically Mayan the presentations they had seen so far were. According to Gideon, this was a priority for them which is why they pooled together six judges to ensure that the service will be truly inspired by the Mayan culture. Among them is Aurelio Sho who is himself a Mopan Maya of 13 Kahnil Productions. Sho has been intimately involved in working with and promoting different Mayan cultures in Belize. He says while he was impressed by the first presentation, he is still looking for cultural elements that will be used in branding the service to represent a true Mayan experience.

Aurelio Sho – 13 Kahnil Productions
“Everything that we I am seeing right now is basic Maya, it’s something contemporary Maya and I think I am not sure to what extent this agency wants the Maya representation to be but I believe there is some aspect being covered in each presentation.”

“Do you feel that more could be incorporated?”

Aurelio Sho – 13 Kahnil Productions
“Certainly I believe when it comes to the unique cultural elements in terms of the language, the utensils the traditional attire, the language and the traditional healing incorporated into the process of massage I think there is a lot that can be done to have a better representation of the Maya of Belize.”

Also part of the judges’ panel is international expert Adriana Azuara, CEO of “All 4 Spas” in Mexico. Azuara, who has worked with more than six hundred projects across Mexico and Latin America in the industry, says she sees great potential in Belize.

Adriana Azuara – CEO, All 4 Spas
“Mayan culture is very rich and the world is really craving for this kind of richness where we can take this historical ancient part and put it into the spa world.

“So you think this product can actually work, that visitors will actually seek this product?”

Adriana Azuara – CEO, All 4 Spas
“Yes, not only here. People will seek it around the world because there is a Thai massage or this treatment from the Salt of the Himalayas but there is so much richness in our culture and there is nothing well prepared to take it to the world and the world is asking for it. Everybody is asking for something that is not just pampering but healing and has history so I think this is a very good opportunity and I think Belize is setting a precedent on how to support and engage the young people into the wellness industry which is a billion dollar industry and one that is growing everyday.”

The competition continues tomorrow. Judges will then select first, second and third place winners. On Wednesday the judges will go through all the presentations selecting the best parts of each which will then be incorporated it into one product.