Media Contact: Beth McGroarty
[email protected] • +1.213.300.0107


2016 Global Wellness Summit Explores
the Future of Wellness, While Celebrating its History

“Back to the Future” themed conference to be held in Austria and co-chaired by wellness experts, Susan Harmsworth MBE, and Dr. Franz Linser


Miami, FL – March 8, 2016 The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) today announced the theme of its 10th anniversary conference, “Back to the Future,” which will examine the future of spa and wellness through the lens of history.

The 2016 GWS takes place in the birthplace of wellness tourism, Tyrol, Austria, on October 17-19 at KitzKongress, Kitzbühel, and the agenda will be led by its co-chairs: British-born entrepreneur, Sue Harmsworth, the mastermind behind ESPA, the leading global spa brand that spans 55 countries, whose dedication to the industry earned her an MBE from the Queen; and Dr. Franz Linser, founder and managing director of international consulting firm Linser Hospitality, former Austrian Olympic team ski coach and former member of the European Parliament. Both are members of the GWS board of directors.

“We wanted a theme that honored our 10th anniversary and reflected the historical relevance of being in Europe, and Tyrol, Austria in particular – where many modern-day wellness practices began, and that continues to be at the forefront of the evolving wellness market,” said Susie Ellis GWS chairman and CEO. “This gives us a unique opportunity to look back over the last 10 years at the founding of our annual Summit, while looking forward to analyze what lies ahead in wellness over the next decade. And I am grateful to have GWS board members, Sue Harmsworth and Dr. Franz Linser, co-chairing the event with me this year.”

To commemorate this historic 10th Anniversary Summit, delegates will be asked to contribute their predictions for the future of the wellness industry, which will be sealed in a “10th Anniversary Time Capsule” in a ceremony on the final day of the conference, to be opened at the Summit in 2026.

In addition to the time capsule, the GWS has reimagined its student competition for 2016 and is introducing a unique global competition, where university students will submit their most innovative, impactful business idea covering any facet of wellness (whether technology, architecture/design, spa/beauty, a product or a service). Three finalists will be flown to the Summit, along with their professors, to present to the delegates in a main-stage debut of “The Shark Tank of Wellness.” This lively, interactive format, based on the popular television show, will provide delegates with an opportunity to experience the future of wellness through the eyes of exceptionally creative students, who will compete for the grand prize of $10,000.

There will also be other “surprise anniversary moments” designed to underscore the significance of this milestone, both within the organization and for the wellness industry as a whole.

Topics on the future-focused agenda will include the intersection of medicine and wellness, the future of wellness within communities and the built environment, and the technological advancements making wellness more accessible for all. In addition, there will be a deep dive into the economics and investment outlook of spas and wellness in Europe, and an exchange of ideas between what large hotel brands and the smaller family-owned hotels—so prevalent in Tyrol—might learn from one another.  Some provocative discussions will include a debate on the issues of terrorism, travel and wellness, as well as how government policies are beginning to make wellness mandatory.  The conference will also explore the shifting meanings of two often-interchanged terms – ‘wellness’ and ‘wellbeing’ – and their conceptual implications and appropriate usage going forward.

The Global Wellness Summit attracts leaders from every sector of the wellness industry: spa, education, tourism, beauty, fitness, nutrition, finance, environment, medicine, architecture, workplace wellness, wellness communities and technology.

For information about attending, click here. For sponsorship, contact Michelle Gamble.

To learn more about the 2016 Global Wellness Summit, click here.

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 $3.4 trillion global wellness industry. Held in a different location each year, the Summit attracts delegates from all over the world. Summits have taken place in the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco and Mexico City. The 2016 Summit will be held in Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria from October 17-19.


Sign up to receive industry news, trends and updates from the Global Wellness Summit