Global Wellness Summit Presents 5 Trends for the Thriving Florida Wellness Market

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From leading the world in wellness communities and lifestyle real estate to creative new directions in mental wellness, Florida is an innovator.

Florida is a booming wellness market, and a real pioneer: for instance, it’s the uncontested world leader in developing new wellness communities and real estate concepts.

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the premier conference for the $3.7 trillion global wellness industry, released five trends shaping the future of Florida’s wellness market at a press conference held at The Breakers, Palm Beach, the site of the 11th annual Global Wellness Summit.

The 2017 Summit theme, “Living a Well Life,” will put a spotlight on how the future of wellness will impact every aspect of an individual’s life. The GWS, which takes place October 9-11, will include keynotes from dozens of high-profile experts, including Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Andrew Weil, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, and draw 500+ delegates from over 45 nations to Florida.

“Florida is a booming wellness market, and a real pioneer: for instance, it’s the uncontested world leader in developing new wellness communities and real estate concepts,” said Susie Ellis, GWS chairman & CEO. “Having the Summit back in the U.S. opens up unique opportunities for a dynamic, future-focused agenda - as we will hear from so many visionaries and entrepreneurs from the largest, most innovative wellness economy in the world.”

“GWS delegates will walk away from this year’s Summit with a deep understanding and appreciation of how businesses can holistically embrace wellness and thrive,” said Paul Leone, CEO of The Breakers.

Five Wellness Trends in Florida
Note: a longer analysis of each trend, with Florida examples, can be found here.

1) Florida: World Leader in Wellness Communities & Lifestyle Real Estate
Homes and communities designed for residents’ physical, mental, social and environmental health represent one of the fastest growing wellness markets: growing globally from $100 billion in 2013 to $119 billion in 2015 – and projected to jump to $153 billion by 2020. And Florida is the hands-down world leader: an experimental hotbed for wellness real estate concepts. One reason: Florida is the birthplace of New Urbanism (i.e., Seaside and Celebration), which emphasize design features like mixed use, walkability, traditional neighborhoods and transit-oriented development, paving the way for the broader concept of “wellness communities”. Another: the state experiences powerful population growth (from retirees to working people with families), driving constant creativity in new housing concepts. Florida has had shining examples of wellness communities for years, like “smart” wellness city, Lake Nona (Orlando), the most sophisticated example in the world of what master planning for wellness can accomplish. And Florida’s development pipeline is packed: from The District: A Life Well Lived (Jacksonville) to “farm and garden” wellness living developments like The Grow (Orlando).

2) “Conscious Travel”: A Destination’s Values to Increasingly Impact Consumer Choice
The environmental values of businesses and hospitality properties have been impacting consumer choice for years. But a future trend – for Florida and the world – is how the human values of a business/property will matter more. The concept of “wellness travel” will no longer be confined to healthy guest programs, it will increasingly include how well the employees are treated or how much a property gives back. For instance, if it’s a disturbing paradox that most wellness resorts have not made worker wellbeing a priority, The Breakers, Palm Beach is a star counter-example: putting the wellness of their 2,000-strong workforce at the heart of everything they do – from an on-site green market to super-affordable child and elderly care on demand.

3) A Coming Wave of DNA, Personal Biomarker & Epigenetic Testing
Over the next 5 years a flood of individual genetic tests, and more sophisticated personal biomarker and epigenetic tests, will hit Florida, rewriting how healthcare and wellness get done. The first wave of genetic tests, like 23andMe, returns pure probability data: you have X% more risk of developing certain health conditions. Critical info, but limited by nature, because it’s not our genes that most powerfully determine what diseases we get, but lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, stress and our environment. Enter the science of epigenetics: the analysis of how we turn our genes “on” and “off”, and the basis for a second wave of tests that measure dozens of personal biomarkers to identify what’s genetically modifiable. For instance, a new three-part test coming this year called Wellness FX combines a genetic test; comprehensive blood, body and biomarker diagnostics testing; and an intestinal biome test to deliver a 365-degree personal health profile. This coming tsunami of genetic/epigenetic tests are especially relevant, and a unique business opportunity, for Florida, because of the state’s largely aging population. New medical-wellness business models will arise around these tests, because the interpretation of results and subsequent “prescriptions” need to be overseen by medical professionals.

4) New Directions in Mental Wellness
For decades, a physical health focus has dominated in the wellness industry, far overshadowing mental wellness. That ubiquitous industry term “mind-body” hasn’t been an equal marriage, and perhaps significantly less so in Florida with its “body beautiful” culture. But with a serious mental wellness crisis skyrocketing in Florida and globally (driven by everything from always-on work to social media fueling a loneliness epidemic), wellness resorts, spas, and fitness/wellness centers are suddenly ramping up “healthy mind” programming. And Florida’s new mental wellness offerings are so diverse: from new “integrative mental wellness” programs, like spas bringing in neuroscientists to the rise of “drop-in” meditation studios to a much more powerful focus on brain-boosting sleep; arts, creativity and dance; breathwork; and silence and unplugging.

5) The Science of Happiness
New studies, like the World Happiness Report, are helping governments to dramatically expand the concept of wellbeing beyond GDP (“money”), including factors like healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust and generosity. Each year, the studies indicate that beyond financial and physical health, a perception of “fairness” and mental wellness, are paramount for human happiness. Which is why poorer, unhealthier nations can rank happier than rich, healthy ones – and Northern European nations always hit it out of the park.

The science of happiness has real momentum (the UAE has even recently appointed the world’s first Minister for Happiness), and the happiness movement has landed squarely in Florida: in March, the first World Happiness Summit was held in Miami. Already, Miami’s Mayor has set a goal to make Miami the happiest large city in the U.S. And according to Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, several Florida metro regions are national leaders: Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island leads the entire nation in reported wellbeing for the second straight year, while North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked sixth out of 189 American cities. The “science of happiness” will impact Florida’s wellness culture in diverse ways: from a bigger focus on social connection, positive psychology, mindfulness and building healthy communities to adding happiness workshops to employee wellness programs.

For more info on the press conference or trends, contact Beth McGroarty: beth.mcgroarty(at)globalwellnesssummit(dot)com or 213-300-0107.

For information about attending the 2017 Summit, visit:

About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico and Austria. This year’s will be held at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida from Oct. 9-11, 2017.

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