Nancy Davis welcomed the gathering of industry leaders, trend writers and media to the event, announcing that a new report will be released, the Global Wellness Economy Country Rankings.
Susie Ellis spoke about the momentum for wellness she sees at the moment, with the wellness market growing to 8.5 trillion by 2027 globally.
Ophelia Yeung clarified the GWS’s definition of wellness and the scope of their research. The top 5 countries account for 59% of the wellness economy.
Susie Ellis and Beth McGroarty present the 2024 trends, as Beth told us that there has never been so much transformation in the wellness industry. High-tech and often, high-cost data-driven wellness compared to soft care, low-tech, emotional and relaxed healing wellness.
1. Climate-Adaptive Wellness
2023 was the hottest on record, we see how it affects our mental wellness. Architecture and design will need to change with new or ancient ways to cool buildings. Urban planning must be updated to prevent high-heat areas in built-up cities. Cooling clothing is on the rise and the way that we travel will change, as beach holidays are traded for mountains and cold climates.
2. The Power of the Pilgrimage
People rediscovered the joy and health benefits of walking, record numbers of travelers embarking on multi-day hikes, not due to religious purposes but for wellness. Governments are promoting walking tourism and renovating historical pathways and walking trails. Hospitality brands are linking up with ancient pilgrimage trails. This is often an affordable, slow, meditative travel.
3. From Manning Up to Opening Up
Wellness has long since provided a space for women to open up, this has not been true for men. With shifting gender roles and a cultural shift away from toxic masculinity. A rise of men’s only retreats, up 200% in 2023 to help men bond and open up finding vulnerability and connection.
4. The Rise of Postpartum Wellness
Following birth, new parents find themselves in a care desert, as the focus is completely on the baby. Many countries have declining birth rates in recent years. In some countries, the level of support is much higher than in others, with paid leave, funding for new purchases required, lactation support and more.
5. Longevity Has Longevity
Healthspan has never been more important with the availability of advanced testing and longevity clinics. With traditional symptom-based healthcare, the population is moving towards preventative healthcare. Biohackers invest in blood transfusions, stem cells, epigenetic testing and high-tech scans while the blue zones teach us the foundations of living a long and happy life.
6. A Wellness Check for Weight Loss Drugs
The new drugs on the market are changing the weight loss battle for millions around the world. The number of people taking these drugs have created a global shortage, with new drugs hitting the market soon and lowering the price, this option will become more available to even more people. The wellness world needs to determine its role here, how to help people get off these drugs once the benefits have been achieved and maintain or pursue a healthy lifestyle.
7. Sports Finds Its Footing in Hospitality
Sports often provide a gateway for people to move and have fun. The sports hospitality market is growing at a rapid pace as people look for facilities and spaces to play their sport while they travel. Access to top-level sports coaches at spa and fitness resorts is now available in addition to recovery facilities with options such as cryotherapy, heat therapy, lymphatic drainage and physiotherapy. SIRO a new hospitality brand from Kerzner, has the tagline ‘fitness and recovery’.
8. The Home as Highest-Tech-Health-Hub
Homes and now cities are now hubs for high-tech digital healthcare with monitoring and diagnostic technologies. With medical-level data available on your smartphone, health and wellness interventions can be fully customized with spaces that respond in real-time to create sensory adaptive surroundings.
9. A New Multisensory, Immersive Art for Wellness
Art is wellness. People need mental wellness support and museums are being revitalized to support community and interaction, connecting new technology with what our future will look like. Powered by generative AI, Immersive entertainment makes it easier to create personalized multisensory experiences. Artist-scientists partner with technology to engage audiences to enter a new era of humanism with nature based experiences.
10. Under the Radar
Susie Ellis recounted some points she found interesting from the recent GWS, held in Miami, November 2023:
• Simone Biles saying that mental wellness challenges can’t be seen, like a cast on the leg, she doesn’t have a helmet to wear.
• Amy McDonald opened up about mental wellness challenges with her teenage daughter.
• Anjan Chatterjee spoke about slow looking and how this has an effect on the brain.
• Sophie Howe considers the future generations and used the term un-GDP. The non-financial information to consider.
• Dr. Deborah Birx used the term wellness diplomacy, outlining how it is essential to cater to the full population.
• Dan Buettner introduced Blue Zones 2.0 like Singapore, where their interventions have shown a positive effect on longevity.
By Sara Jones, Editor