AlMaarefa University has announced the launch of the Saudi Arabian Wellness Association (SAWA), a new industry body established to promote, educate and develop the wellness sector in Saudi Arabia.
Launched on 11 June 2022 on Global Wellness Day, SAWA was formed by a team of local and international wellness thought leaders, medical specialists, entrepreneurs and senior executives.
The organisation was founded by professor Ebtissam Al-Madi, a researcher, professor of dentistry and a long-time advocate of wellness. Currently, she serves in an R&D advisory capacity for the president of AlMaarefa University.
Commenting on the launch, Madi said: “SAWA was launched in support of the health goals of the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 in establishing a vibrant society that promotes living well and being healthy.
“The association hopes to attract a community of like-minded wellness advocates by providing a progressive platform that facilitates the exchange of ideas in the sector while also raising awareness of activities to promote wellness and encourage positive practices throughout the community.
“Saudi Arabia is rapidly expanding its stake in the industry, and having a hub of professionals (both national and international) to help shape the future of wellness in Saudi Arabia was paramount.”
The past few years have seen a flurry of interest and investment in the Middle East’s development scene, with major projects such as the 92-island Red Sea Project making progress, in addition to high-end hotel operators with established spa concepts – such as Accor, Nobu, Aman and The Dorchester Collection – planning to open new properties in the region.
SAWA will work collaboratively with both the public and private sectors to promote the wellness industry.
Its goal is to build relationships with government bodies – including Office 2030, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education – and work together with these entities to shape policy, and amplify the importance of wellness for individuals and corporations.
Stephan Wagner – industry veteran and wellness director at the upcoming Saudi giga-project named AMAALA
– is a founding member of the organisation.
“The launch of SAWA is crucial for the Kingdom’s wellness and tourism industry as it will both raise awareness about and promote the wellness sector in the province,” he told Spa Business
“It will also create a platform for the wellness community to connect and flourish.”
SAWA was first approved by the University Council in February 2022 and listed among the associations supervised by the general secretariat of the universities in the Ministry of Education.
Madi explained the new association’s affiliation with AlMaarefa University:
“Legalisation of associations in Saudi Arabia falls under either the Ministry of Labor, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties or Universities.
“We chose the health-oriented AlMaarefa University to assist SAWA in championing its values through educational programmes, meaningful round tables discussions and evidence-based publications. Crucially, it will also help us reach the Saudi Arabian youth and equip them with a deep understanding of wellness and wellbeing.”
Further information can be found online at SAWA’s official website
or the team can be reached directly at [email protected]