Spafinder Wellness 365 Announces Global Panel of Judges for 2016 Wellness Travel Awards

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International panel of editors, journalists and experts to nominate the top spas, resorts, retreats and hotels around the globe for annual awards; consumers to vote for winning locations; winners to be announced at the World Travel Market in November

Our goal is to provide travelers with the most objective assessment of the destinations that deserve the highest accolades for providing incredible wellness experiences, from the hidden gems to long-time favorites.

With thousands of wellness travel destinations around the world, how does one begin to identify the very best? By turning to a team of global editors and experts who devote their lives to exploring countless wellness destinations— to discover the truly exceptional properties that offer the finest experiences in some of the most beautiful places on earth. Spafinder Wellness 365™ today announced this expanded international panel of 39 judges who will nominate candidates for the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards, the only awards program dedicated to honoring spas, resorts, retreats and hotels that offer stellar experiences and programs to a growing number of consumers seeking healthy vacations and travel.

To ensure the most deserving wellness travel properties are recognized, a comprehensive three-part approach will be used to select winners. First and second steps involve nominations and scoring by the panelists to determine finalists, followed by voting by consumers who will help select the winners. Panelist nominations begin this month and consumer voting starts in July. Panelists will nominate the top properties on six continents, in scores of countries and regions, and for 20 categories. Winners of the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards will be announced in November at the World Travel Market in London.

"Our goal is to provide travelers with the most objective assessment of the destinations that deserve the highest accolades for providing incredible wellness experiences, from the hidden gems to long-time favorites,” said Spafinder Wellness, Inc.® COO John Bevan. “We are grateful to these highly respected editors and experts for devoting their talent and time to identify the top wellness travel locations in the world.”

The 2016 Wellness Travel Awards Panel of Judges: Continents noted in parentheses indicate where the headquarters of the publication or organization is located.

Kris Abbey, publishing editor, Spa & Wellness International magazine (Australia)

Ann Abel, travel writer and editor, Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler (North America)

Gustavo Albanesi, president, Brazilian Spa and Clinics Association (Latin America)

Bonnie Baker, founding member, Wellness Tourism Council in San Miguel de Allende (Latin America)

Katie Barnes, managing editor, Spa Business magazine (Europe)

Mary Bemis, founder and editorial director, Insider's Guide to Spas (North America)

Rona Berg, editor-in-chief, Organic Spa Media (North America)

Elena Bogacheva, president and founder, Spa & Wellness International Council; CEO, Spa Priori LLC (Europe)

Anitra Brown, spas expert, (North America)

Julie Keller Callaghan, editor-in-chief and publisher, American Spa magazine (North America)

Sarah Camilleri, founding editor and publisher, European Spa magazine (Europe)

Johnny Chang, columnist and CEO, Spa Solutions Management & Training (Asia)

Isabelle Charrier, founder and managing editor, Emotion Spa magazine (Europe)

Sandhya Chipalkatti, editor and publisher, Spa Mantra magazine (Asia)

Jeri Clausing, editor, Travel Weekly (North America)

Susan d'Arcy, luxury travel and spa editor, London Sunday Times (Europe)

Dr. Nadine de Freitas, owner and managing editor, Spa Magazine Les Nouvelles Esthétiques – South Africa (Africa)

Elaine D'Farley, editor-in-chief, Spafinder Wellness 365 (North America)

Anne Dimon, founder and CEO, Travel to Wellness (North America)

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo, chair lady, Spa Association of Africa (Africa)

Suzanne Duckett, editor, Tatler Spa Guide; founder, The Antidote (Europe)

Nora Elias, editor, Professional Spa & Wellness (Europe)

Catherine Feliciano-Chon, founder and managing director, Catch On (Asia)

Jo Foley, editor, writer, author, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Spears Wealth (Europe)

Gustavo F. Gaffrey, founder and CEO, Spas of Argentina; former president, Argentina Spa Association (Latin America)

Jenni Gilbert, editor, SPA+CLINIC (Australia)

Franka Hänig, editor-in-chief, SPA inside (Europe)

Sara Jones, managing director and editor, Spa Professional México (Latin America)

Catharine Nicol, freelance writer, editor, photographer, blogger,, South China Morning Post, AsiaSpa (Asia)

Elaine Okeke-Martin, founder and editor, Spa and Wellness Africa magazine; founder and president, Wellness Association of Africa (Africa)

Si Si Penaloza, luxury content manager, JETSET magazine (North America)

Sheetal Rastogi, editorial director, World Travel Magazine (Asia)

Chris Ryall, freelance writer and columnist (North America)

Stephanie Shiu, editor-in-chief, Asia Spa Magazine (Asia)

Sonee Singh, founder, Petal Life LLC (Latin America)

Gaurav Sinha, founder and CEO, Insignia Worldwide (Middle East)

Alla Sokolova, chairman, Global Wellness Institute Initiative “Baltic to the Black Sea” (Europe)

Liz Terry, editorial director, Spa Business, Spa Opportunities, CLAD magazine (Europe)

Fiona Vlemmiks, editor, Professional Beauty GCC (Middle East)

Spafinder Wellness, Inc.® is the world's largest marketing, gifting, incentives and rewards company for the wellness industry and the leading consumer resource for feeling good and living well all year round. With now over 25,000 wellness partners worldwide, including wellness travel destinations, fitness, yoga and Pilates studios, spas and salons, plus access to 5,000 massage therapists through Zeel's on-demand massage services, millions of people find the resources and inspiration to keep well every day via Spafinder Wellness 365 websites and The Wellness App. The company's widely distributed gift/wellness cards are available online and at 40,000-plus retailers worldwide, as well as through corporate incentive/rewards programs. Visit, and

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Betsy Isroelit
Spafinder Wellness 365
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