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01 March 2024

Global summit to unite spa leaders

The core spa industry revenues top $60 billion, according to an industry official. (GETTY IMAGES)

By Staff Writer

More than 40 countries are expected to attend the spa industry's largest gathering – The Global Spa Summit (GSS), an annual conference that gathers top spa industry executives from all over the world, will be held from May 17 until 19 under the theme of "The Power of Collaboration".

The setting will be the award-winning Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken – a place reminiscent of the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Just as in years past, the 2009 Summit is likely to be a sold-out endeavour, with an expected 40 countries represented in this year's delegation.

"With core spa industry revenues topping $60 billion (Dh220bn), and another $194bn in spa-related hospitality, tourism, and real estate, plus more than 1.2 million workers worldwide, our industry is a key contributor not only to global economic health but, of course, to global consumer health and wellness more generally," said Pete Ellis, Chairman of the Global Spa Summit Board of Directors. "The GSS is the only place where the top trend-setters in spa, wellness, and related industries come together to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and advance industry goals. This year should prove the best ever."

The Global Spa Summit is an annual event that attracts top-level business executives from all over the world with interest in the spa and wellness industry.

Representatives from diverse sectors including hospitality, investment, finance, real estate, medical, manufacturing, technology, consulting, product and other related industries attend this intimate, high-level gathering focused on moving the spa and wellness sector forward. With sold-out attendance in both 2007 and 2008, the Global Spa Summit delegation represented 29 different countries from all continents.

The 2009 GSS will feature, among other research, the release of a new proprietary "Spa Impact on Hotel Revenue" study, conducted for the summit by the École hôtelière de Lausanne and Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration with support by Smith Travel Research and SpaFinder Research. This in-depth report will be made available to delegates who attend the summit as a part of their registration.

Research has been a hallmark of GSS from its inception in 2007; last year's landmark "Global Spa Economy Research" report provided the first-ever snapshot of the scope of the international spa industry.

The Spa Summit has quickly emerged as the premier event for spa industry leaders. In fact, it has been called "nothing short of a phenomenon" by Deborah Szekely, founder of the renowned Golden Door & Rancho La Puerta destination spas.

The 2008 GSS included more than 220 industry leaders from all continents, and featured keynote speeches from hotelier Ian Schrager and Dr Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States and Vice-Chairman of Canyon Ranch as well as Spa & Wellness guru Ingo Schweder, Managing Director Spatality and Co-founder & board member of GSS. Steve Case, founder of AOL and Revolution, LLC, joined the delegation in 2007 as the keynote presenter.

A variety of interactive sessions are planned this year, including panel-led discussions, general sessions, small group breakout sessions and hosted dining conversations.

Top issues on this year's agenda include the impact and opportunities presented by the turbulent global economic climate, and the relationship between spa and medicine, particularly the implications of the continued rise of medical tourism.

The summit will also address issues such as benchmarking practices, eco-friendly initiatives and what impact the current economic crisis is having on what was previously an international skilled labour shortage – all top concerns identified in the past.