6th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit: Details about June 2012 Event in Aspen, Colorado Released

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• Theme: “Innovation through Imagination” • Seven high-profile keynotes confirmed • Critical new research from SRI International to be presented • Featured discussion: “The Healthy Town of the Future”

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The answer, I believe, is innovation through imagination – the right, exciting theme for this year’s Summit.

The Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) today shared details about its annual conference to be held in Aspen, Colorado from June 3-6, 2012. This year’s Summit, which will take place on the Aspen Institute campus, promises to be a unique event: a packed three days of presentations and panels that will squarely focus on the most imaginative and innovative strategies that can propel the $2 trillion global spa and wellness industries forward. Seven top-tier keynote speakers – and a crucial research initiative on current spa management education realities and future needs - have already been confirmed.

The organization, formerly the “Global Spa Summit,” also announces that it has added the word/concept “wellness” to its name, to better reflect the expanded focus of - and approaches increasingly being delivered by - the modern spa industry. The invitation-only Summit enters its sixth year in 2012, after successful prior gatherings in New York City; Interlaken, Switzerland; Istanbul, Turkey; and Bali, Indonesia.

Keynotes Lining Up: Seven diverse headline presenters have been confirmed, all selected to speak on topics surrounding “innovation” and “imagination.”

  •     Philippe Bourguignon: Vice Chairman, Revolution Places; Former co-CEO of the World Economic Forum (Davos)
  •     Dr. Richard Carmona: 17th Surgeon General of the U.S. and Vice Chairman, Canyon Ranch
  •     Jose Maria Figueres: Former President of Costa Rica, and expert on global, environmental practices
  •     Mariel Hemingway: Academy Award-nominated actress & wellness advocate
  •     John Kao: Author of the bestseller “Innovation Nation,” and creator of executive programs on innovation at Harvard Business School
  •     Peter Rummell: Former Chairman of Disney Imagineering, and current chair of the Urban Land Institute
  •     Elizabeth Stephenson: Partner at global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company

Unlike most conferences where keynote speakers present and depart, Summit keynotes typically attend the entire gathering, so they contribute their expertise (and are immersed with delegates) throughout the event. One panel will involve Jose Maria Figures and Elizabeth Stephenson comparing notes on political and global-economic perspectives, while a collaborative session with Pete Rummell, John Kao and Philippe Bourguignon will explore “The Healthy Town of the Future.” Additional speakers and panelists will be announced over the next several months.

“The spa and wellness industry faces vast opportunities, but also confronts complex challenges: having recently had to adapt to austere economic conditions – all while serving more sophisticated consumers demanding more and the ‘different’ – but with a shrinking pool of talented staff,” said Philippe Bourguignon, co-Chair of the 2012 agenda and Summit Board Member. “The answer, I believe, is innovation through imagination – the right, exciting theme for this year’s Summit. The great companies are founded on innovation, not from market surveys. Innovation doesn’t stem from experience, but from a vision of what we wish to experience tomorrow. The agenda will purposely exit the industry ‘highways’ to explore new side roads, discoveries and ideas. It will incite us to use our imaginations to become more innovative, so that this industry can continue to speak to people’s imaginations.”

A Social, Networking Environment: The GSWS anticipates that an international delegation of 300-plus senior executives from 40-plus countries will gather in Colorado this June. In addition to the robust “formal” agenda of presentations, there will be an array of social and one-on-one networking experiences each day: from gala dinners, to group touring and hiking excursions in and around Aspen – a destination recognized worldwide for its natural beauty and cultural sophistication.

Centerpiece Research Initiative: Annual polls of Summit delegates consistently reveal that a lack of professionally trained managers/directors remains a powerful obstacle to industry growth. So, for 2012, the Summit commissioned research firm SRI International to undertake the study “Spa Management Education, Addressing Market Gaps.” SRI International was also responsible for other landmark Summit research initiatives, “The Global Spa Economy Report” (2008) and “Spas and the Global Wellness Market” (2010).

Pre- and Post-Summit Experiences: Every delegate will also have the opportunity to visit famed destination spa, Miraval, in Tucson, Arizona. Available pre- or post-Summit, this three-night wellness retreat will give delegates the opportunity to experience the resort’s award-winning, signature menu of offerings (from the Miraval Equine Experience™, to yoga and meditation classes, to outdoor activities and “challenges”) – while extending their networking and educational opportunities.

Delegates looking to stay closer to Colorado can opt for “Aspen Experience Day” (Sunday, June 3rd), featuring a group walking/hiking trip in this picturesque area, followed by a guided historical tour of Aspen’s town center. Post-Summit, delegates can also join a day trip to Glenwood Hot Springs, to experience the nation’s only “vapor cave” and a dip in natural hot springs, followed by lunch at the historic Hotel Colorado and treatments at the Spa of the Rockies.

To register, or to learn more about attending or sponsoring the Summit, click here: http://www.globalspaandwellnesssummit.org/

Note to Editors:

About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an annual event that attracts executives and leaders from around the world with an interest in the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including the hospitality, tourism, finance, medicine, real estate, manufacturing, technology, consulting and product industries, attend this intimate, invitation-only gathering focused on advancing the spa and wellness sectors. The Summit has been responsible for some of the most important recent spa industry research, including the “Global Spa Economy Report” and “Spas and the Global Wellness Market” (conducted by SRI International), as well as “Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where Do Spas Fit?” The organization recently launched a breakthrough research tool, SpaEvidence.com, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence for common spa and wellness therapies. The GSWS was honored as "Spa Event of the Year" for 2009, 2010 and 2011 by AsiaSpa magazine’s awards program.

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Beth McGroarty
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