Many organizations have rescheduled their 2020 events; why is the GWS going ahead with an event this year?
The Global Wellness Summit has a long history of convening, annually, the most prominent thought leaders in business, academia and the wellness industry. Each year, the event is held in a different part of the world, and 2020 was originally slated for Tel Aviv (and Tel Aviv is now slated for 2021).
We do not want to miss the opportunity to convene, in person, at a watershed moment for the wellness industry, and, in fact, we believe the wellness industry’s role is more crucial now than ever before.
How did you decide on hosting it in the US and, specifically, in Florida?
Given current realities, the GWS team made the decision to host this year’s Summit in the US both so that the team could easily manage the logistics and because the US is arguably the largest wellness market in the world. We want to attract a significant number of delegates from the host country in order to support the global wellness economy. The Florida location means many in our industry will be able to drive versus fly to the 2020 Summit.
It’s important to remember how fast situations are evolving around the coronavirus. By November, we believe that Florida will be ready to welcome not only US delegates but also international travelers.
The Breakers is a longtime GWS partner (having hosted the 2017 Summit), and their commitment to wellness for employees and guests is unparalleled. This gives us a further opportunity to create an event together that is a showcase for a “well” conference.
What precautions are you taking to keep delegates safe while at The Breakers?
To set standards for a safe conference, former US Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, MD, will serve as Medical Advisor to the 2020 Summit. Dr. Carmona will work closely with the GWS and The Breakers teams to ensure the latest health and safety protocols are in place. The goal is to keep delegates, guests, staff and the community safe at all times.
The Breakers’ sprawling beachfront location enables appropriate physical distancing and generous use of outdoor space. They have exceeded all recommended CDC and World Health Organization guidelines and have implemented intensive safety and hygiene protocols for guests, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing. In addition, The Breakers has implemented touch-less transactions for every part of a guest’s stay and each guest receives a hygiene kit with hand sanitizer, facial tissues, disinfecting wipes and spray. To learn more about The Breakers current health and safety precautions, please click here.
What precautions is The Breakers taking to keep staff safe?
The Breakers has exceeded all recommended CDC and World Health Organization guidelines for team members. Educational/training programs have been implemented to help staff understand how to control the spread of airborne pathogens in the workplace, as well as proper cleaning and disinfecting practices.
Upon arrival at work, team members are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms, including daily temperature checks. In addition, any employee that tests positive for COVID-19 is required to provide confirmation of negative testing before returning to work.
Team members’ direct interaction with one another and with guests is severely reduced thanks to new touch-less transactions and new housekeeping protocols. To learn more about The Breakers current health and safety precautions, please click here.
How do you envision convening a wellness conference at this time?
The event will be designed and curated within the framework of the times in which we are living. Working with experts in a number of fields, we expect to create a model of conference planning and execution in the time of COVID-19. With this year’s theme as a guidepost—”Resetting the World with Wellness”—we will reimagine the event itself and make creative decisions, taking health and safety into account, for the three-day agenda.
The GWS has always been known for its international delegation. Do you expect delegates from outside the US?
Yes, delegates from almost two dozen countries have committed to attend already, and we expect that to grow. Of course, given the realities, we expect to have a larger than normal US contingent in attendance, and, while our Summit is likely to be smaller than in previous years, we have always been more about quality than quantity.
We’re particularly pleased that Welltech1, our Israeli partner, has committed to co-sponsoring the Summit’s first-ever Tech Innovation Pavilion, an important new GWS initiative given the increased demand for wellness technology during and in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Will you offer a virtual component for any of the attendees from countries that are banned from US travel?
Since late March, the GWS has hosted a steady stream of incredibly popular virtual Zoom events (for example our Master Class and Industry Collaborations) to keep the wellness sectors informed and connected, something we intend to continue.
The move to The Breakers illustrates that we are committed to our founding mission—Joining Together. Shaping the Future. We recognize that some of our international delegates who have attended previous Summits may be unable to attend this year. After careful consideration and deep research into the expense and logistics of producing a high-quality virtual event, we decided against it. As always, we will continue to share select keynotes, presentations and other key takeaways both during and after the Summit. We are hopeful that by November, the desire to gather safely, to chart the course for the future of the industry, will far outweigh any challenges.
Is there a maximum capacity that can safely gather for the Summit at The Breakers?
The guidelines around safe gatherings continue to evolve, and we are monitoring the situation in close partnership with The Breakers. We encourage delegates to register early, as we have sold out each year, and there are bound to be some limitations this year.
It’s difficult to look into the future, but if the event does have to be canceled due to the spread of COVID-19, what would be the refund policy for registered attendees?
If the 2020 Global Wellness Summit is not held as scheduled, the registration fee will be applied to the rescheduled event or to a future Summit of the delegate’s choice within the two years following the rescheduled event (2022).
What kind of content can I anticipate at the 2020 Summit?
The conference theme of “Resetting the World with Wellness” is a call to action for the $4.5 trillion wellness economy. The 2020 agenda will help shape the way wellness businesses, government leaders, and the medical and technology worlds develop more comprehensive and inclusive wellness concepts to remake the world post-pandemic. It also recognizes that the consumer mindset has undergone a “wellness reset” during the crisis: with wellness becoming a bigger focus in people’s lives and commanding a bigger share of wallet (even if that wallet may have shrunk).
Expect to explore the ways holistic and inclusive concepts could transform human life post-COVID-19. The 2020 Summit will also feature the first Tech Innovation Pavilion, introducing companies that use digital platforms to provide solutions for the future of health and wellness. In addition, the Global Wellness Institute will release the first research report on the complex, multi-sector mental wellness category, identifying the rapidly emerging mental wellness product and service categories and the opportunities for incorporating mental wellness across other wellness segments. Delegates will also be able to explore the new concepts that bring wellness into the home and the ramped-up interest in the $134 billion wellness real estate and community sector, including a post-Summit (November 11–13) immersion experience on wellness real estate and communities at the pioneering, award-winning development Serenbe (right outside Atlanta), one of the first wellness communities in the US. Space is limited, and it’s only open to registered delegates.