First global destination spa forum set for India

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A DEDICATED FORUM, defined as fully immersive, all-inclusive spa and wellness retreats, will lead off this year’s Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) at New Delhi, India, Oct. 5-7.

The global spa forum represents the first time leaders from 1,500-plus destination spas worldwide will gather in an effort to create a strategy on how best to solve their biggest challenges and capitalize on their biggest future opportunities.

“Although destination spas are a smaller group than resort and day spas, they’re often the leading innovators on the wellness frontier. And this first global ‘think tank’ organized for this critical spa segment is an exciting, much-needed event,” said Sharon Kolkka, general manager of Australia’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

“We, the leaders of destinations spas worldwide, have much to discuss: from how to drive individual business growth; to the possibility of forging a united industry alliance to specifically advance our sector; and, more generally, wellness in the world.”

While destination spas and wellness retreats are becoming more diverse than ever, they share a mission of providing comprehensive mind/body/spirit experiences in which all guests participate. The programming, which typically spans fitness activities, nutritious cuisine, therapeutic and beauty treatments, preventative services and wellness education classes, is specifically designed to jumpstart healthy lifestyle changes.

And while destination spas represent only 2% (roughly 1,500 out of 72,000) of spa properties globally, they account for a much larger percentage of industry revenues (13% or $6 billion-plus) and employment, by 9%.

A group of destination spa leaders met informally at the 2012 Summit in Aspen, Colorado. And this year GSWS organizers decided that this high-impact sector needed formal space on the agenda to help further an alliance and collaboratively analyze their unique challenges and opportunities.

“In many ways, destination spas are the heartbeat of the industry,” said Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Spa and Wellness Summit. “Creating health transformations is their very DNA.”

Among those helping shape the Destination Spa Forum agenda are two Thai wellness retreats – Chiva Som and Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary.

The Forum is sponsored by the International Health and Wellness Alliance (IHWA). This new organization is devoted to educating the world about destination spas and wellness centers and encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices and evidence-based approaches at properties worldwide.

To learn more about the Summit, or to register to become a delegate, visit: www.globalspaandwellnesssummit.org

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