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Global Wellness Summit 2019 – Day One

An impressive Chinese Dragon performance opened the summit with vibrant shades of red across the stage. Susie Ellis spoke of the inception of the summit and the evolution of the agenda and growth of the event and it’s importance globally.

The research has helped to define and quantify the industry and its global expansion, where just over 10 years ago there was none; wellness was a word that was hardly used and data was scarce. The GWS now has 28 initiatives, such as wellness tourism, sound healing, wellness coaching, Susie shared the news that the GWI has been invited to participate in the World Economic Forum, a huge achievement. “Mission accomplished” Susie states, “wellness has become a global force, what’s next?”

Some challenges that Susie posed to the industry:

• We need to do a better job of emphasizing sustainability, let’s add the words ‘and planet’ when talking about personal wellness

• Wellness must be for all

• Mental wellness is extremely important

• Commitment to workplace wellbeing in all of our companies

• Strengthen our resolve, commit to our values

Sector-specific GWS symposiums will start next year commencing with Wellness and Real Estate in May 2020 in New York.

Susie shared a story from the late Alex Szekely, of Rancho La Puerta, Mexico, likening wellness to a ‘fence’ on the edge of a cliff, helping to prevent people from falling.

Catherine Chon highlights the importance of Asia in the wellness industry around the world.

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Yoriko Soma spoke about Forest Bathing in the center of Tokyo and the importance of mental wellness and employee wellness for Japan to thrive. Japan is embracing a 100-year life as the population lives longer.

Mickey Beyer-Clausen, the founder of Timeshifter, allows us to ‘bio-hack’ our bodies to prevent jetlag. About 93% of people who travel long-haul suffer from jetlag and around half a billion people fly long haul annually. Jetlag is detrimental to health and affects the enjoyment of travel significantly. Timed light exposure can shift the body’s circadian rhythm quickly, paired with caffeine intake and a melatonin supplement taken at the right time, jetlag can be avoided completely.

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Naveen Jain highlighted the fact that all diseases are essentially caused by inflammation and imbalance of the gut microbiome. The relevant question is not what bacteria we have in the gut, but what are those bacteria doing? Let’s make illness optional with the research we have available, and let’s prevent disease that keeps the pharmaceutical companies in business!

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Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung presented the research on staying well and healthy – we need to move our bodies and be physically active throughout our lives. We can, however, be physically active without going to the gym or to fitness classes. The iconic wellness economy chart has been defined and ‘fitness and mind-body’ has been replaced with ‘physical activity’.

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The updated chart now shows that the global wellness economy is valued at 4.5 trillion USD.

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David Harry Stewart of Ageist is reinventing how life after 50 is lived, experienced and understood. Aspirational framing – cool is ageless. People don’t buy brands or products, they buy better versions of themselves. All people do not age the same. Geography, health, income and … a new outlook. A 50-year-old now can believe they are only halfway through their life.

Key trends include re-urbanization,women leading, spirituality, new norms, responsible consuming. They have options and they are not settling! Personalization and customer service are essential. Delight people by helping them become a better version of themselves.

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The Debra Simon Award for mental wellness was presented to Dr. Gerry Bodeker.

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Why Asia? Why now? Press Conference:

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The Global physical activity economy is an 828 billion USD market (2018). The overall global wellness economy is now 4.5 trillion.

Physical activity economy in Asia-pacific is 240 billion USD. Spending on tech a relatively high in comparison to the rest of the world. Asia’s participation rate is just 33%, lower even than Latin America. Mindful movement participation in Asia is higher than global participation at 4.5% compared with 3.8. Many modalities such as yoga and Tai Chi have deep roots in Asia. The Singaporean government is partnering with Fitbit to support public fitness, sleep and nutrition for the population.

2020 trends
Wellness Tourism will approach a 1 trillion USD industry worldwide

1. The circadian traveler
2. Slow wellness, flying less, staying grounded, walking
3. The urban wellness resort is sky-rising
4. Switching on the belief mechanism – spiritual seekers
5. Forest everything
6. The future is female, a fierce feminist wellness
7. Aging will be rebranded at cool
8. The wellness sabbatical; extended wellness travel

The afternoon panel discussion on well hotels and what they mean for the industry and travelers was moderated by Neil Jacobs of Six Senses. The panel confirmed the demand for wellness in hotels continues to rise. Mike Fulkerson of Marriott hotels explained that although specific wellness properties can offer more tailored experiences,large brands like Marriott and Hyatt can still play their role and ensure that guests are able to maintain their dietary routine, exercise routine and get a good night’s sleep. Mia Kyricos explains that all of Hyatt’s 21 hotel brands can help you achieve wellness while traveling. Feel, fuel and function are considered in each brand and location in order to cater to the right guests, in the right hotel brand at the right time.Allen Law of Park Hotel Group outlined how redefining the typical employee schedule by allowing their associates to choose, as much as possible, the 44 hours weekly they work. This provides the possibility of a 4-day work week and 3 days off when the schedule permits.

Wellness Tourism 2.0 panelists spoke about the future of wellness travel and how guests will be able to engage and connect during wellness travel experiences. Katherine Droga advises staying focused on the guests as wellness travel covers so many modalities. Dervla Louli of Compare Retreats surveyed their top 500 guests and found that sustainability was a strong motivating factor when booking. Sleep, nutrition and programming are the pillars on which each property is assessed. Vivienne Tang ofDestination Deluxe looks at trends in wellness tourism, ensuring they can deliver what guests are looking for.Lisa Jody Manser of COMO hotels explained that their motivation is to stay true to their core of ‘move well, eat well and think well, staying away from following trends. The recent GWI wellness tourism initiative study showed that people in positions of authority were the main influencers to choosing a destination and property and that guests are willing to pay a premium for accommodation that meets their wellness needs.

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Masahiro Fujita of Sony, showcased the latest developments in AI, also noting that AIBO robots were targeted to the younger tech-savvy generation however, it was purchased by and for the older generations, helping with emotional connection.

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Sara Jones
Author: Sara Jones