The Magazine for spa and wellness in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America​

Highlights from the Global Wellness Summit

Growth of the industry to 4.2 Trillion

The global wellness industry grew 12.8% in the last two years, from a $3.7 trillion market in 2015 to $4.2 trillion in 2017. The 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor released new data on the ten markets that comprise the global wellness economy providing fresh evidence that wellness remains one of the world’s biggest and fast-growing industries.

From 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4% annually, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6%)

Wellness expenditures ($4.2 trillion) are now more than half as large as total global health expenditures ($7.3 trillion)

The wellness industry now represents 5.3% of global economic output

Wellness Tourism
At $639 billion, wellness tourism is a significant and fast-growing segment of global tourism.

In the region of Latin America-Caribbean trips increased from 46.8 million in 2015 to 59.1 million in 2017. Expenditures increased from $30.4 billion USD to $34.8 billion USD.

Within our region, of the top 20 destinations for wellness tourism trips, Mexico ranks 11th and Brazil 20th. Mexico’s annual growth is 10.3% and Brazil’s is 10.4.

The Spa Economy
The spa economy has grown in the number of facilities, revenues, and employment.

In the region of Latin America-Caribbean the number of spas has risen from 10,269 in 2015 to 13,856 in 2017. Spa revenues have increased from $4.9 million USD to $6.6 million USD.

The top 20 spa markets include Mexico at number 13 and Brazil at 20.

Longevity is in our hands
As wellness professionals, we already knew this, however, the identification, study and creation of Blue zones across parts of the world show clearly the factors predicting and influencing longevity.

In the Blue Zones, there are more people living to over 100 years old. Diet is a factor but interpersonal connection is even more important. Longevity is not something that is successfully pursued, it is found in environments that are conducive to healthy living. A diet that is 90-100% plant-based, an active lifestyle and close connection to friends and family lead to a healthy and long life.

The Power9 are factors described by Dan Buettner as the common denominators of the world’s longest living micro-populations

Move Naturally – active lifestyle rather than specific workouts

Purpose – know why you wake up in the morning

Down Shift – relieve stress

80% Rule – stop eating when you’re 80% full

Plant Slant – a 90-95% plant-based diet full of beans and legumes

Wine@5 – socially drinking wine regularly

Belong – a sense of community and support

Loved Ones First – Families are paramount

Right Tribe – social circles that support healthy behaviors

How can you encourage your clientele to follow these principles?

How many of these principles do you and your staff follow?

Transcendental Meditation
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first developed the practice of Transcendental Meditation over 50 years ago; more than six million people have now learned TM. It proposes to be easy to learn, effortless and unique from other forms of meditation and is supported by substantial scientific research.

There are 3 basic types of meditation

Focused attention – Inducing Gamma brain waves

Open monitoring – Mindfulness techniques, creating Theta brainwaves

Self Transcending (or Transcendental Meditation/TM)

Bob Roth spoke about his experience and introduction to Transcendental Meditation and it’s profound benefits on students at inner-city public schools, war veterans and victims of domestic abuse along with benefits available for every user of the practice – regardless of whether or not you believe in it.

Could TM benefit your spa guests?
Could it also benefit you and your staff?

AI in Beauty and Wellness
New technology coming into the marketplace, not only changes how we understand and diagnose the skin, but how we go about treating it and changing it. Artificial intelligence will allow us to measure the effectiveness of our skincare as we try new products via a personal feedback loop. MIT-based startup gathers data and creates bespoke skincare oils made within minutes, it can then measure and adapt the formulation. Scientists have been able to miniaturize hyaluronic acid allowing it to penetrate deeper than before and delivering effectiveness similar to injectables.

Proven Skincare is a startup that uses algorithms to search over 8 million product reviews, 20,000 ingredients and 100,000 products to determine the right products for the right skin type.

How could brands in the spa industry utilize technology like this and adapt their offering?

How would the ability to demonstrate effectiveness of skincare help your spa guests?

Skift coined the term in 2016, when theydecided to tackle sustainability from a different angle – the phrase ‘sustainable travel’ is still ignored 20 years on from when it was first talked about.

Rafat Ali explained the potential hazards to popular destinations worldwide; as the dynamic forces that power tourism often inflict unavoidable negative consequences if not managed well. In some countries, this can lead to a decline in tourism, as a sustainable framework is never put into place for coping with the economic, environmental, and sociocultural effects of tourism. The impact on local residents cannot be understated either.

Five solutions to this are:

Limiting transportation options

Make it more expensive

Better marketing and education

Better collaboration among stakeholders

Protect overcrowded areas

Is your area at risk from or suffering from overtourism?
What could your property or business do to protect the surrounding environment?

Brands across the spa, wellness and beauty market are capitalizing on the new trend of CBD (Cannabinoid) and taking advantage of the somewhat vague, current legal status. “Anecdotal claims range from helping with migraines and insomnia to inflammation, menstrual cramps, joint pain and muscle pain,” says Melisse Gelula, Co-Founder, Well+Good. It is estimated that CBD products will make up $200-400 million USD of the $820 million American hemp industry this year. This is expected to rise to $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020 – Hemp Business Journal. Expect to see considerable growth in this area!

Could your spa offer CBD products and treatments to guests who will soon look for this service across the industry?

Silent Disco
The energy breaks on days two and three of GWS were livened up considerably by the Center for Transformative Movement with its Movement Meditation program. CTM inspired summit delegates to take part in freeform dance and to move to uplifting, energizing music played through wireless headphones. It was certainly far more stimulating than coffee for me!

Could you entice your spa guests to move to music?
Could you host a silent disco?
Do you encourage your staff to move and dance?

Well Buildings
Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania referenced Vitruvius, the Roman author and architect by explaining that these three core principles should still apply in architectural design; Firmitas – structural integrity, Utilitas – functionality and Venustas – beauty or aesthetics. We were invited to consider factors such as acoustics, aromas/olfactory interaction and how spaces engage our motor systems. Veronica Schreibeis Smith, of Vera Iconica Architecture, asserted that true wellbeing will never be achieved if our designs do not nourish the soul.

Delos presented the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform, which monitors water quality, air quality and light, calibrating indoor home environments and responding to changing conditions to improve human health and wellness.

How does your facility engage with guests?
Could it be improved?
Are you monitoring the quality of water, air and light?

The Wellness Moonshot
Dr. Richard Carmona of Canyon Ranch introduced Jessica Jesse of BudhaGirl who spoke of taking action, collecting data and reaching out to spread the word. With the creation of a hanging calendar comprising 12 moons with a new message of wellness and action item each month of the year. Canyon Ranch also gifted each delegate two bracelets engraved with ‘Wellness Moonshot’, one to wear and one to give to someone else – letting them know about the wellness moonshot.

What can your property or company do to support the Wellness Moonshot?

Many of us have been trying to answer the question, “What food is right for me?”, for decades. Despite continuous nutritional research, this has not been an easy question to answer historically. Neil Grimmer, Founder of Habit, uses big data and computational biology along with DNA, blood work, gut microbiome feedback, metabolic functions and cultural habits to unlock the nutrition insights required to create the ideal food plan for each person. Incredible results were seen across the study, with weight loss, a 74% decrease in BMI and a 10-point reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.

What can you do to support guests and staff with their nutritional goals?


Sara Jones,


Sara Jones
Author: Sara Jones