Optimism for the future of the wellness industry prevails at GWS
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Optimism for the future of the wellness industry prevails at GWS

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I really believe wellness can be just as contagious as illness

The idea that the global wellness and spa industry is going to come out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger than ever before was a key take-home message from this year’s Global Wellness Summit (GWS).

Speaking at the summit on 9-11 November – both at the physical venue in The Breakers, Florida and virtually – sector stakeholders across the world shared their view on what the event’s theme of ‘Resetting the World With Wellness’ meant to them. The overall message was one of hope and optimism.

“For me the currency of wellness is connection,” said Marc Cohen, founder of the Extreme Wellness Institute, Australia. “Rather than waging war on life with chlorine, disinfectants and antibiotics; and enforcing disconnection with quarantine, social distancing, masks and tracking, we can find peace with microbes and each other to foster human flourishing and connection.

“I really believe wellness can be just as contagious as illness. The wellness industry needs to be the dominant industry on Earth to regenerate clean water, food and air to create a global wellness pandemic and that’s what resetting the world of wellness means to me."

Franz Linser, CEO of consultancy Linser Hospitality, in Austria, said: “A fasting cure has been forced on us by nature. Not fasting from food, alcohol or technology but social fasting. It’s tough and unprecedented. But as we know from any fasting cure, physical or spiritual, life tastes a lot sweeter afterwards. Life [and wellness] will be more purposeful and essential in a post-pandemic era.”

COVID-19 has been a great catalyst for us said Mia Kyricos, a leading wellness consultant based in the US. “If I had to summarise what I think resetting the world with wellness is for people, the planet and community it would be one word… and that’s ‘love’.”

Kyricos has taken the corporate arena by storm recently with her vision of Love as a Business Strategy.

“This is a turning point for our industry,” said Cathy Chon, owner of Singapore-based branding and marketing firm CatchOn. “Over the last two decades, we’ve developed brands and companies with a design imperative. Going forward we won’t be able to create or grow anything unless there’s a wellness imperative.”

For Yoriko Soma of Conceptasia, a spa consultancy and investment company in Japan, resetting the world with wellness is about collaboration. She praises Japan’s collective-effort to control coronavirus saying the country has “surprisingly low death rates and the economy is back to normal”.

UK-based Irene Forte, wellness director of Rocco Forte Hotels, said: “COVID-19 has shocked all of us, especially as a millennial – I think we thought we were all a little invincible… The pandemic has reshaped how we think and has shown us how important being well and being resilient is.”

“So many people and businesses are focused on technology and I think wellness presents an amazing opportunity to shift that focus,” says Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin, president of Mexico design and construction firm Diarq. “Instead, technology will become a tool to escalate [a wellness focused] business, which is amazing because we’re all looking for that touch of humanity.”

Turkey’s Omer Isvan, who’s the president of investment consultancy Servotel, said: “The pandemic has reset a lot of behavioural modes. Not just wellness, but human attitudes to life and Earth. COVID-19 has delivered us a mandate to reset human wellness as we happen to be at the core of it.”

Anna Bjurstam, wellness pioneer at Six Senses, said: “Collective consciousness and coming together is truly important. It’s about how powerful we can be as a group, together at this summit, and making sure we connect and spread wellness in a completely different way than we have before.”

Speaking from Sweden, leading industry consultant Andrew Gibson concurred.

“The GWS has built up a tremendous collaborative force around the world. COVID-19 has accelerated its purpose. Now is the time to combine and collaborate to create that moving force that Marc [Cohen] talks about.”

Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses, concluded: “What we do as an industry is so relevant and clearly we’re much stronger collectively than individually. We have to come together at events like this, talk more, communicate more and brainstorm on a greater level because as a group we are a powerhouse. I’m really optimistic about the future because the demand is huge. People want to travel. What we can do post-pandemic is just huge.”

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The idea that the global wellness and spa industry is going to come out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger than ever before was a key take-home message from this year’s Global Wellness Summit (GWS).

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