Global Spa & Wellness Summit Unveils 2013 Conference Agenda

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Program reflects Summit’s vastly expanded wellness focus, as industries from finance to tourism to consumer retail seize this $2-trillion market opportunity. From His Holiness the Dalai Lama to tourism heavyweights Jean-Claude Baumgarten and Peter Greenberg to a “super panel” of industry investors, agenda aims to marry hard-hitting business intelligence with “heart-hitting” inspiration.

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The agenda reflects our leadership role in bringing together these varied industries and businesses that want to collaborate on capitalizing on the wellness boom and bring more wellness to the world.

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) today announced the keynote speaker lineup and daily program for its annual conference to be held at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, in New Delhi, from October 5-7, 2013. With 30-plus high-profile keynote addresses and presentations, hot-button industry panels and research reports packed across the three-day event, the 2013 conference will represent the richest slate of content in the Summit’s seven-year history.


“We listened to our delegates from this highly diverse industry about what matters most to them. Every aspect of this year’s program is designed to give attendees an intense education in where spa and wellness has been, where it is today, and where it’s heading,” said Andrew Gibson, GSWS board member and 2013 agenda co-chair. “And the provocative, practical and personal are interwoven throughout.”

The 2013 theme, “A Defining Moment,” captures the Summit’s recent, significant expansion of focus from “spa” to “spa and wellness”. Delegates will hear from dozens of thought-leaders across the investment, tourism, technology, medical, government, consumer retail and real estate sectors now making moves into the fast-rising wellness sector and the key opportunities and innovations emerging from their corners. The program agenda is designed to create “defining moments” both professionally and personally for attendees by balancing honest, hard-hitting business information with inspirational presentations.

Summit Firsts: The 2013 conference will feature several critical firsts, including an inaugural Global Wellness Tourism Congress; the release of groundbreaking research on the global wellness tourism market from SRI International; and six Global Forums on key industry sub-sectors.

“When the first Summit was held in New York City seven years ago the dominant discussion was defining the word ‘spa.’ How far this industry and conference have come. Now we’re welcoming leading business minds from across nearly every market sector rushing to the ‘wellness well,’” said Susie Ellis, GSWS chairman and CEO. “The agenda reflects our leadership role in bringing together these varied industries and businesses that want to collaborate on capitalizing on the wellness boom and bring more wellness to the world.”


Global Industry Forums: Dedicated sessions for destination spas, hotel spas, hot springs spas, hydrothermal, spa retail and spa education will take place across the Summit, and represent the first time that global leaders from these key sub-sectors will gather to strategize on how best to solve their biggest challenges and collaborate to expand opportunities. Access the hot topics and hard questions on each Forum’s “table.”

Day 1: “Outward” – The Global Business of Wellness

Day One revolves around the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC), with its star-studded line-up of presentations from 15 tourism experts, joined by Ministers of Tourism presenting case studies from around the world. The goal: to define, benchmark and shape the best strategies to grow this packed-with-potential tourism sector. U.S. Olympic medalist and best-selling author, Bonnie St. John, facilitates the three-day Summit and Congress.

Congress Highlights

  •     Thierry Malleret, global economist and strategist: “Spa, Wellness and Tourism: An Industry at the Confluence of Global Mega-Trends”
  •     Jean-Claude Baumgarten, former president, World Travel & Tourism Council: “How Tourism Became the World’s Biggest Industry—Lessons for Wellness Tourism”
  •     Amitabh Kant, former joint secretary, Minister of Tourism, India; creator of the successful “Incredible India” campaign: “The Birth of Wellness Tourism: An Incredible Story”
  •     Ophelia Yeung, co-director, Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, SRI International, presents the landmark research report, “The Global Wellness Tourism Economy,” the first to size the global and (50) leading international wellness tourism markets
  •     Costas Christ, editor/columnist, National Geographic Traveler; sustainability ambassador, Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas: “Should Wellness Tourism Embrace Wellness of the Planet? The Business Case for Doing Well by Doing Good”
  •     Josef Woodman, CEO, Patients Beyond Borders: “Why Medicine Is Now Courting Wellness”
  •     David McCaughan, EVP, McCann Japan; director, Truth Central Asia Pacific, presents new key research, “The Truth About Wellness,” with global survey findings on how consumer beliefs about wellness create the biggest market opportunities
  •     Curtis Schroeder, founder, Intermedika; former CEO, Bumrungrad Hospital, Thailand: “Medical & Spa Tourism: Marriage Made in Heaven….or Shotgun Wedding?”

The Congress culminates with Peter Greenberg, renowned travel editor for CBS News (and formerly for NBC’s Today/MSNBC), leading an intensive “What’s Next?” think-tank session with GWTC participants to clarify and synthesize “best ideas.”

Day 2: “Inward” – The Inspirational Business of Wellness

Spa/wellness is an industry that uniquely delivers inspiration and personal connections daily. And Day Two explores the ancient, modern, emotional business of wellness. India’s hospitality titans relate their personal and entrepreneurial journeys—while keynotes and panels feature Asia’s world-renowned spiritual and wellness leaders.


  •     Analjit Singh, chairman, Max India Group: “The Max Story: Business, Life and Wellness”
  •     Raymond Bickson, managing director and CEO, Taj Hotels & Resorts: “Against All Odds: Success in India”
  •     Kapil Chopra, president, The Oberoi Group: “A Leading Luxury Hotel Brand—Guts to Glory”
  •     His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the world’s most distinguished spiritual leaders: “What Is Health?,” followed by a Q&A moderated by Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, author and clinical professor of medicine
  •     Panel on “Ancient Healing Traditions across the Indian Sub-Continent,” featuring experts like Dr. Isaac Mathai, founder, SOUKYA International Holistic Health Centre
  •     Expert panel: “Spas, Wellness & Sustainability, Taking It to the Next Level”
  •     Expert panel: “Corporate Social Responsibility—That Feels Good”
  •     Yoshiharu Hoshino, CEO, Hoshino Resort Co., Ltd: “Heating Up the Hot Springs Market”
  •     A kirtan and meditation experience with Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president and spiritual head of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India

Day 3: “Outward” – The Big Business of Wellness

Day Three is squarely focused on giving delegates the practical, up-to-the-minute knowledge they need to execute business success, while presenting bold new innovations from across the wellness landscape.


  •     Subhash Chandra, chairman and founder, Veria Living: “How Media and Wellness Initiatives Together Can Help People and Entire Communities Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes”
  •     Trent Walsh, managing director, Leading Quality Assurance: “Mystery Shopping for Experience, Consistency and Emotional Intelligence!”
  •     Dr. Kenneth Pelletier: “Corporate Wellness: An Untapped Goldmine for the Future of the Spa”
  •     Rapid-fire wellness innovation presentations from executives of numerous companies, from pioneer of wellness real estate, Delos Living, and its new “Build Well Certification” and “End-of-Life Spa” to the new women’s protein water, Wello
  •     Susan Harmsworth, founder and CEO, ESPA International, moderates a no-holds-barred panel, “Straight Talk from Serious Investors in Hospitality and Spa,” with powerhouses, Omer Isvan, president, Servotel Corporation; Paul Scialla, founder, Delos Living LLC; Nitesh Shetty, chairman and MD, Nitesh Estates; and Manav Thadini, chairman, HVS South Asia.
  •     Kenny Tomlin, founder and CEO, Rockfish: “Top Five Technology Trends You’ve Never Heard Of”
  •     Top representative from the government of Bhutan explains his nation’s visionary “Gross National Happiness Index,” and what it means for the future.

The final session, “Wrapping It All Together,” led by Bonnie St. John, synthesizes the “defining moments” for the Summit and the six industry forums.

Student & Infographic Competitions

The Summit underwrites two unique competitions this year. The annual Student Challenge features teams from major Indian universities (Indian School of Business; Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad; and University of Delhi) competing for cash prizes to design a future-focused, globally viable wellness concept/spa resort that encompasses authentic Indian culture. This new Infographic Competition (open to anyone) places US$5,000 on the table for the most creative, informative infographic speaking to any aspect of spa/wellness.

Gala Events & Unique, Local Experiences

The Summit takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, one of the world’s leading luxury hotels. Planned events include gala dinners, cocktail receptions and creative social networking sessions at The Oberoi, The Taj Palace Hotel and the Trident Gurgaon. Delegates can also opt for a post-Summit trip to Kerala, the “capitol” of authentic Ayurveda.

To register, or to learn more about, the Summit, visit:

About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an international organization representing senior executives and leaders from over 40 countries, joined by a common interest to drive economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology, attend the organization’s annual Summit, which is held in a different host country each year. After just seven years, the GSWS is now considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $1.9-trillion spa and wellness industry. It is known for introducing major industry initiatives such as, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence behind common spa and wellness therapies. For more information, visit

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