The contribution of spa technology consumption to one’s psychosocial and economic development in Zimbabwe
This study departed from the conjecture that the contribution of spa technology consumption to one’s psychosocial and economic development is overlooked, underestimated and generally snubbed in Zimbabwe despite its being ranked as a multi-billion investment on the global market. The main objective of the study explored the contribution of spa technology consumption to one’s psychosocial and economic development in Zimbabwe. Premised on phenomenological approaches and an Exploratory Multiple Case Study research design, in-depth interviews were conducted with thirty (30) purposively sampled respondents. Data were collected from spa technology consumers, spa technology practitioners, Tourism and Hospitality industry professionals as well as members of the host communities in Bulawayo, Binga, Chinhoyi, Gokwe, Harare, Nyanyadzi and Victoria Falls. Study sites comprised man-made day/city spas and natural spas/spring facilities. Data were analysed and presented qualitatively. The study adopts Goffman’s Dramaturgy as an overarching theory to fully understand the nexus between spa technology consumption and one’s psychosocial and economic development. For informed results, the main objective was broken down into five related specific objectives and findings from each objective constituted a chapter (chapters five to ten). The first specific objective explored the state of the spa technology sector in Zimbabwe. This objective profiled the spa technology sector and it also served as a springboard that illuminated gaps in knowledge from which the statement of the problem was concretised. Findings indicated that the sector is perceived as ill-defined; relatively invisible, trivialized and operating with a limited regulatory framework. The sector is generally overshadowed by other sectors, operating haphazardly and underdeveloped. As a result, the spa technology sector is overlooked, underestimated and snubbed by the general populace. The second specific objective assessed individuals’ lived experiences with spa technology consumption. Spa technology consumption is believed to be influenced by consumers’ motives and the envisaged outcomes. Lived experience with technology consumption are perceived to be spiritually uplifting and emotionally healing. The consumption is perceived to alleviate fear and anxiety perceived to be induced by evil forces, ill-health and unfavourable looks. The technology is also consumed to remedy spiritually related challenges believed to affect individuals’ wellbeing. Experiences with spa technology consumption are viewed as intentionally good and were also influential to personality development. The third specific objective examined the contribution of spa technology consumption to one’s psychosocial development. Findings isolated psychological wellness, interpersonal attraction and personal gratification as benefits of spa technology consumption to one’s psychosocial development. Thus, the consumption of spa technology is believed to transform consumers’ inner and external selves which added value to their worthiness in life. It was anticipated to subdue painful feelings which causes a feeling of rejection, being undermined, segregated, concomitantly inducing anger, disillusionment and sorrow. Positive experiences included perceived relief from psychological pressure while inducing a sense of freedom, empowerment and general gratification. Specifically, the vii consumption is believed to repair one’s ego which translated to character modification. The experience is also perceived to be euphoric, pleasurable, restorative and curative translating to a positive living and mind-set. Specific objective four, examined the contributions of spa technology consumption to one’s economic development. Spa technology consumption is viewed as a stepping stone to economic upliftment. It is consumed as an economic capital that enables individuals to acquire financial resources that help them to acquire financial resources to meet their basic and derived needs. It is also perceived as a resource with capacity to produce outcomes that are economically desirable making life affordable and desirable. To a certain extent, the consumption contributed to the upliftment of one’s economic status. Economic benefits of spa technology consumption also included sustenance perks, reduced medical cost, improved livelihoods, professional growth and increased positive self-esteem amongst consumers. Spa technology consumption is believed to enhance good looks which are viewed as an asset that can translate to some economic benefits. The fifth and last specific objective developed a psychosocial and economic development optimisation model from the consumption of spa technology. The study isolated major sector specific impediments which are perceived responsible for constraining individuals from wholly benefitting from the technology consumption. These encumbrances included disorganized operations, underdeveloped facilities, outdated equipment, and lowly qualified personnel, meagre products that are not effectively marketed as well as limited understanding of the concept of spa technology. The sector is lagging behind in research thwarting innovation and development. Identified strategies to optimise the operations include improving the sector’s marketing confidence in products and services, relevant education and training, innovation, suitable operating environments, exposure to contemporary trends and spa specific signatures and central government recognition of the sector as significant to the mainstream economy. It was observed that optimisation was achievable only when the identified encumbrances are attended to. As such, there is need paradigm shift in the spa technology sector if spa technology consumption can be esteemed by the general populace. The developed mode should also be tested for feasibility and applicability.