Beauty industry expert Wendy Lewis attended this year’s New York-based media briefing on the 8th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit, which was held in Marrakech, Morocco in mid-September. Here, a recap of the major trends and growth opportunities in the global spa arena.

Speaking from the Delos Loft in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, delivered the biggest global trends that are driving the spa and wellness world. “Wellness has become a very broad conversation,” said Susie, who attended the Summit in mid-September in Marrakech.

According to the Global Spa & Wellness Summit Study conducted by SRI International, the spa industry has survived seven turbulent years and is now thriving. As of 2013, wellness is a $3.4 trillion mega-industry worldwide, three times larger than pharmaceuticals. The wellness sectors that are seeing the greatest growth include nutrition and weight loss ($276.5 billion), preventative and personalized health ($243 billion), complementary and alternative medicine ($113 billion), and beauty and anti-aging, which is leading the pack with $679 billion in sales.

Among the highlights of the study was the uptick in the spa industry, which has been growing steadily since 2007; 58% growth from $60 billion in 2007 to $94 billion in 2013, with a 47% increase in spa locations from 71,762 to 105,591. The spa growth rate was particularly strong in Europe and Asia, most notably in Russia and central Asia, as well as China and India. Emerging markets also show huge potential for products and services. Latin America showed an 86% increase, the Middle East had 134% growth, and Africa topped the charts with an impressive 186% increase. Europe was ranked as the highest region for spa revenues ($29.8 billion), followed by Asia ($18.8 billion) and North America ($18.3 billion). Asia leads the world in the number of spas.

Wellness tourism is also on the rise, now accounting for $494 billion in revenues. This robust category includes people visiting a destination spa for a fitness or detox program, plus business travelers who choose a hotel based on its wellness offerings.

According to Elena Serra, Corporate Vice President Communication, NATURA BISSÉ Group, “We were delighted to participate in this groundbreaking research that provides deep insights into the global spa and wellness industry, which demonstrates the strong growth we are seeing in major markets, including Asia and North America.”

A new portal – – was unveiled, designed for doctors, corporate wellness consultants, as well as consumers searching for preventative approaches. The site draws from major medical databases to categorize the latest cutting edge research in 25 top wellness categories. Visitors can search for relevant studies on topics ranging from Yoga, Ayurveda, Pilates, Weight Loss, Nutrition to Biofeedback, and contribute articles of interest to the site’s community.

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