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Highlights of the Global Wellness Summit 2023

The Global Wellness Economy Monitor

It’s now ten years since the first iconic bubble chart was released. The global wellness economy monitor will now be released annually!

The global wellness economy is currently 5.6 trillion USD and is forecasted to reach 8.5 trillion USD by 2027.

When comparing the growth of the wellness economy with GDP, we see that the wellness economy growth continues to grow faster than GDP.

Growth leaders throughout the pandemic:
Wellness real estate
Mental Wellness
Healthy eating, nutrition & weight loss
Public health, prevention & personal medicine

Shrank initially but recovered:
Physical activity
Traditional & complementary medicine
Personal care & beauty

Shrank and have not yet fully recovered:
Wellness tourism
Workplace wellness
Thermal/mineral springs

Mental Wellness

Simone Biles’ advice to others is to not hold yourself back, don’t be afraid to be great, and unleash your power. At 26, Simone is pushing the boundaries of the sport and plans to continue competing. “When you look good and feel good, you do better,” says Simone.

Simone stepped back from competition in the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health reasons, and believes that “to teach people that it is okay to not be okay” is important, “when people can’t see a physical injury, they often don’t understand that someone can still be suffering and need help.” Simone Biles was recognized with the Debra Simon Award for Furthering Mental Wellness.

Sensory Integration & Beauty

Anna Bjurstam, Wellness Pioneer, talked about sensory awareness, we have up to 21 senses. The creation of sensory profiles will allow hospitality businesses to cater specifically to each guest, creating sensory comfort. Virtual communication can recreate the sensation of touch, this technology is only just beginning.

Luuk Melisse of Sanctum explained the philosophy of their movement classes. Hosted in iconic buildings with sacred geometry, copal and incense, binaural beats, and healing frequencies. “When listening to voices through headphones, your brain perceives the voice as your own” claims Luuk.

Anjan Chatterjee of Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics explains the concept of slow looking, helping people engage with art for longer and identify their reactions to that work of art. This taxonomy and vocabulary will help people slow down and appreciate art to obtain the full sensory benefit.

Veronica Schreibeis Smith shared her recent experience of seeing the Mona Lisa amongst crowds of people, all vying for space to take their selfies. She claims, “You don’t know beauty when you see it, you know it when it moves you.”

Wellness Diplomacy & Women’s Health

Deborah Birx, MD, joked that governments and academic facilities aren’t always very good at listening, but listening is the key to change. Deborah worked to change the face of HIV across Africa. By studying focus groups and putting women at the center of the conversation, this key demographic that was being overlooked could finally be reached. Once you give a young woman her voice and empower her, her voice will never be lost. These young women growing up with the program were the ones intervening and helping other young women at risk or subjected to physical and sexual violence.

Somi Javaid, of HerMD, highlights that just 20% of MDs are actually trained to deliver care for those in menopause, yet half the population will experience this. Educate, advocate, and empower – not just the patient but the provider, this is how Somi aims to create change. The inequity in care is clear; females are less likely to be able to identify their own anatomy, females wait longer for pain medication, and they are more likely to die from heart attacks unless their care provider is female. There are not enough female decision-makers in healthcare, yet healthcare decisions at home are mostly made by women.

Aradhana Khowala, of Aptamind Partners, asked the audience to consider their future with an additional 20-30 years of life expectancy. We want to live longer and better, for that, we need money! The aging population has money and prioritizes travel, leisure, food, and home improvement. But only 5-10% of marketing budgets are currently targeting people over 60. When reaching 60, people are targeted with ads for health conditions, medications, and crematoriums, etc. We must break the mold of what aging looks like and rewire, not retire. Consider the 100-year life with optimism and positivity; science, knowledge and funding will converge to change longevity.

Wellness, Sports & Hospitality

Sport Tourism is defined as travel away from home to play / take part in sports, watch sports, or to visit a sport attraction, including both competitive and non-competitive activities. UNWTO reports that sports tourism accounts for $800 billion USD annually, accounting for 10% of all tourism.

Amber Donaldson, of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee says athletes need wellness, and wellness needs sport. Elite athletes are a small percentage of people but they have a huge platform. Having resources for them to train and recover around the globe is vital to performance. Most athletes actually live below the poverty line and do not receive funding or government assistance.

Patricia Ladis, of WiseBody, highlights that engaging people in sports can help to bridge the gap between metabolic disease and wellness, whereas traditional fitness can be daunting to those who are overweight and unfit.

Enrico Manaresi, of Technogym, explains that consumers are looking for athlete-level facilities and support, they may be training for triathlons or other races and events and desire personalized solutions for sports performance.

Liz Terry, of Leisure Media, stated that a new generation of consumers is driving this trend. Millennials and younger generations want to live, move and be skilled in physical abilities. We have to provide facilities and services to cater to them. One example is a UK hotel, which offers rooms with altered levels of oxygen and humidity to help individuals train for different climates and environments.

Leaving the World Better Than We Found It

Sophie Howe, Global Wellbeing Advisor, warned that if we’re not thinking about planetary health and climate change, we cannot consider the population’s health. Biodiversity loss and species loss will become a reality in the coming years. With people living longer, how will our healthcare systems manage those with ill health? Will older people be able to prosper? Radical decisions are needed for future generations to access healthcare. From cells to cities, interventions to bring in nature and encourage, even prescribe, physical activity can all promote wellness and longevity. For example, doctors in Wales are empowered to prescribe a bike if someone will benefit from physical activity.

As AI surges ahead, it’s clear that the investment going into AI far outweighs the investment going into studying the ethics behind the use of AI.

AI + Wellbeing

Poonacha Machaiah, of The Chopra Foundation, claimed, “Life is a team sport, so let’s all ask; Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? What am I grateful for?” The Chopra Foundation mantra of ‘Love in action’, has four pillars: attention, appreciation, affection, and acceptance. Initiatives of the foundation include ‘Never Alone’ an app using AI to connect users with someone else ‘like them’, facilitating connections to improve mental wellness, and ‘Cyber Human’, a digital wellness personal companion that identifies needs and desires. Cyber Human can advise on lifestyle, behaviors, supplements, and diet, reading data from blood panels, heart rate, heart rate variability, cortisol levels, etc.

AI, Music & Wellbeing

Freddie Moross, of Myndstream, spoke about generative AI and the impact it will have on the Music Industry. Soundful allows any user to create original music, but music predates language, and AI can never replace the human connection and intention that is brought to musical performances. This AI can produce 39,000 tracks per day… But do we need this much music content?

AI, Health & Medicine

Bill Kapp, of Fountain Life, explores the future of healthcare, this includes prediction, personalization and participation. We currently have a symptom-based healthcare system, but now AI can detect and diagnose disease while people still feel healthy. Advanced molecular biomarkers are measured to detect early on, any imminent diseases. Soon, all scans will be read by AI in addition to a medical professional; AI is better at detecting information and is consistent over time.

Transforming Hospitality

Emlyn Brown, of Accor, explains that brands are responding to the moving desires of guests, specifically via nutrition, movement, and wellness. At the lower end, there is also a huge demand for wellness. The ideas and implementation start at the high end, but filter down to the lower end.

Catherine Flint, of Marriott International, highlights that everyone wants to be in the wellness space, which makes it harder, but identifying what each brand is, and is not, is key. Westin is premium, but not luxury, the amenities and services need to function for the team and guests. Partnerships allow the rollout of new initiatives and experiences without overloading hotel staff by adding tasks to their responsibilities.

Amanda Al-Masri, of Hilton, stated that full weight of hospitality organizations was not behind wellness in the last 10-20 years, they now are. From now on, the basics across all hotels will include prioritizing wellness and sleep quality of guests.



By Sara Jones

Author: Fabiola

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