Spa Business issue 4 2018

Page 78

EVENT REPORT

Bella vita An Italian inspired Global Wellness Summit featured fashion, food, fitness and spa… and cameos from Hugh Jackman and Oprah Winfrey. Katie Barnes gives her highlights

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rom morning workouts with fitness giant Technogym to meetings on exercise balls and dancing breaks, this year’s Global Wellness Summit (GWS) in Italy was one of the most energetic to date. There was an uplifting spirit throughout thanks to summit co-chairs Mia Kyricos, who heads up wellbeing at Hyatt and Tony de Leede, owner of Australian wellness destination Gwinganna, both of whom also emceed the event over the three days. Now in its 12th year, GWS 2018 was held at the striking, wellness-oozing

The summit took place at the wellness-oozing Technogym headquarters in Italy

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Technogym Village headquarters in Emilia Romagna, north Italy. More than 600 delegates from 50 countries convened with the intention of Shaping the Business of Wellness, which was the summit’s overarching theme. It’s clear that the event which started out as a ‘spa summit’ back in 2006 has firmly transitioned to ‘wellness’. While top spa professionals made up a strong proportion of delegates, many came from the nutrition, design, health, medical and fitness space – just under half were there for the first time – with talks reflecting this broad remit.

Exciting numbers revealed at the event now value the global wellness economy at US$4.2 trillion (€3.6tn, £3.2tn). It’s grown 12.8 per cent in the last two years – nearly twice as fast as global GDP. Today the worldwide spa sector is worth US$119bn (€103.1bn, £90.6bn) and thermal/ mineral springs are worth US$51bn (€44.2bn, £38.8bn). We take a more in-depth look at these findings on p88. Overall the message was that the momentum for wellness is undeniable and unstoppable, and spas will want to decide how they want to help shape it.