Fast Forward: The Future of Wellness Tourism



Taking place at the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Morocco, this coming September 10-12, the Global Spa and Wellness Summit has announced key elements of its conference agenda for the 8th annual event.

The program and speakers reflect the futuristic Fast Forward theme. The summit will take a creative and strategic look at the future of spa and wellness, covering a range of topics from technology, design and brain science to retailing, marketing and investment trends to corporate wellness and wellness tourism.

Considered the world’s most prestigious gathering of business, government and academic leaders in the wellness, travel and spa industries, the Summit is expected to attract a record number of attendees. The 2nd annual Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC) will run concurrently on September 10.

Speaker Highlights:

Alexis Jones

The host of this year’s Summit is internationally recognised speaker, author and media personality, Alexis Jones (below centre). Jones is known for her positive impact and influence on Gen Y and is founder of I AM THAT GIRL (, a community devoted to empowering girls in the discovery of their innate worth and purpose. She has recently delivered keynotes at the following events and institutions: The White House: Healthy Media Initiative; The United Nations Nexus Leadership Conference; NASA Innovation Summit; Harvard Business School and Stanford University.

‘Alexis’s enthusiasm and message of empowerment, confidence and inner beauty for Generation Y makes her a perfect fit for this Summit’s focus on the future. In fact, she is the future!’ said Susie Ellis, GSWS Chairman and CEO.

‘The combination of an enthusiastic Gen Y savvy expert with world renown experts on cultural change in a wide array of fields that are set to impact the spa and wellness industries for decades to come will make the 2014 Summit unforgettable.’

Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels (above left), architectural sensation, will dazzle delegates with his futuristic look at design and architecture and his unique take on hedonistic sustainability.

Kjell Nordstrom

Dr Kjell A. Nordstr””m (above right), the Swedish economist and futurist and co-author of Funky Business, numerous other prestigious keynote speakers have been added to the agenda.

Paul Price, CEO of Creative Realities, will reveal marketing lessons from global brands like Coca Cola, Pfizer and ExxonMobil and enlighten delegates on the future of the marketing landscape.

Danny Friedland, founder and CEO of SuperSmartHealth, will educate delegates on intricate brain science developments and its relation to overall health, wellbeing and – a first – on beauty.

Don Ardell and Jack Travis, both considered founders of the wellness movement, will take the stage and enlighten delegates with their extensive expertise in a life lived well.

Louie Schwartzberg, filmmaker and founder of Blacklight Films, recently featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, whose work reveals the heart of the human soul through nature, will share how he is applying his unique vision to the spa world

Mr Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism for Morocco, will outline the country’s forward-thinking plan for tourism development, dubbed ‘Vision 2020,’ and the role wellness tourism will play.




Wellness Tourism Congress Highlights

The 2nd annual GWTC will deliver insights into this $439 billion USD market and focus on how the spa and wellness industry can help drive the recognition of its importance both at global and national levels. Some highlights include:

Yolanda Perdomo, Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Program, discussing significant international tourism trends and their relation to wellness tourism.

Peter Greenberg, renowned travel editor for CBS news, will be taping his radio show onsite, interviewing thought leaders, moderating a panel of tourism ministers, and taking an extensive look at wellness tourism and how the industry can capitalise on this trend.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, former president, World Travel and Tourism Council, will share the stage with Peter Greenberg to discuss wellness tourism’s impact.

Ministers of Tourism from a collection of countries will also be on hand to discuss the impact that wellness tourism is having on their regions.

Tech Jam: Each delegate will be asked to bring a wellness technology device or app that they either have used or are currently using to share with other delegates. This fun interactive session will help set the stage for the important technology discussion to follow – ‘What does this all mean for our future?’

Global Industry Forums: For the second year, the summit will feature dedicated sessions for destination spas, hotel spas, hot springs spas, spa education and hydrothermal spa creators. New forums will include corporate wellness, mixed use/real estate and a wellness tourism roundtable discussion. Global leaders from these key sub-sectors will gather to strategize on how to solve their biggest challenges and collaborate to expand opportunities.

Panels and Workshops: Summit luminaries in their respective fields will hit ‘Fast Forward’ and look into the future of spa and wellness architecture, mobile technology, wellbeing leadership, investment trends, getting the media’s attention, the science of wellness and wellness tourism 2.0.

Moroccan Touch: Workshops and salons will explore Moroccan spa traditions, including North African hammams and the making of argan oil with Professor Zourbida Charrouf, recently dubbed the ‘mother of the argan oil revolution’ by CNN. An audience with Yahya Rouach, the renowned Moroccan lantern master and artist whose client list includes Harrods and Saudi princes, will also be on the agenda.

Hosting the official post-summit tour this year are Australia’s Jamila El Maroudi, founder and director of Mira’s Hand authentic Moroccan Hammam Spa products, and Charles Davidson from the Peninsula Hot Springs.


Delegates can choose between a four or six-day tour, visiting hot springs in the regions of Fes and Meknes in the north of Morocco. Those who opt for the six-day tour will enjoy an additional thermal station in the south of Morocco. For information contact

Student and Infographic/Videographic Competitions: The 6th annual Student Challenge, a competition between international universities to create a spa resort/wellness concept of the future, and the 2nd annual Infographic/Videographic Competition with the theme ‘Imagining the World of Spa and Wellness in the Future’ will both take place.

GSWS is an international organisation representing senior executives and leaders from more than 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 organisation’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.

For more information or to register to become a delegate to the GSWS visit


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