Part 3: Global Wellness Summit Trends Forecast 2021

By Sarah Todd


By Sarah Todd

03 March 2021

Always of great value to spa and wellness professionals worldwide, the annual Global Wellness Summit Trends Forecast spotlights key developments predicted to shape the wellness business in future.

This year’s report reflects the rapid emergence of new pathways for delivering wellness as been expedited by the ongoing pandemic, and a broadening of how we perceive wellness is fuelling hope as demand grows within mainstream audiences.

The challenge for spa and wellness businesses will be how to adapt to this new era and adopt new delivery methods and revenue streams for the future.

In the final part of our series, we bring you three more key trends form the report.


Resetting events with wellness…

In 2021 and beyond, creativity is driving connection – and how we gather is taking on new and healthier meaning.

From around mid-March in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person events to an abrupt halt. This trend examines how a new meetings and event hybrid was consequently born, with wellness at the core.

The new hybrid events combined in-person and virtual gatherings with technology companies racing to become the hosting platform.

Delegates at last year's GWS at The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL, USA

Investors threw money at tech companies, and within months of the pandemic shutting down most in-person-only gatherings, new companies had taken hold, and a new world was emerging.

The report examines top-of-mind topics like health, safety and immunity and suggests new protocols and technologies that can mitigate risk in engaging ways.

As Dr Vivek Murthy, 19th US Surgeon General, recently re-appointed Surgeon General for the Biden administration, said in his keynote interview at the 2020 Global Wellness Summit: “Whenever you can bring people together, where they can understand one another more clearly by sharing; where they have opportunities to help one another which strengthens connection, then you are helping to build community; you’re contributing to healing. And you’re helping to create the kind of connected, cohesive world that all of us really need, for us and for future generations.”

TREND #2 – Money out loud...

Money has topped the ‘do-not-discuss’ list for decades—right alongside religion, sex and politics. But it’s 2021, and transparency is trending.


This growing openness is being driven by the link between money and mental health. The silence around money isn’t making us well, according to reports. In fact, it’s making us sick – financial stress affects physical health, blood pressure, respiratory symptoms and more. It’s about time money is put under the microscope.


In 2021 and beyond, this trend predicts that we’ll begin to see the end of financial systems designed to profit from our failure and witness the start of financial wellness, which explores our relationship with money and unearths the deeper issues that are negatively affecting that relationship. This growing financial wellness movement is moving money talk far beyond the bank, shifting the conversation from the what to the why; from the purely pragmatic to the psychological.



Financial therapists are tackling the intersection between money and mental health, and the three billion views of #personalfinance content on TikTok prove that finance influencers are officially a thing.


The money conversation is heating up, and it’s being brought to the fore by those who have typically been excluded from dialogue altogether. We all engage with money daily, yet our experience with it vastly differs based on factors like race, socio-economic status, age, personal values and even sexual orientation. And though the majority of 2020 headlines felt hopeless, the year did bring promising signs of greater financial inclusivity.


Money talks. It’s time we start using a language everyone can understand.


Revitalising travel…

The coronavirus pandemic acted as a near-complete brake on travel in 2020. The pause gave everyone – consumers and suppliers – the opportunity to think about rebooting travel for the better by correcting over-tourism, becoming more conscious of where our money goes, and how to use the enormous power of tourism to sustain cultures and environments and perhaps even leave them better off.

From the manic travel of 2019, which was the ninth year of record-setting growth in travel, outpacing global economic expansion according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, 2021 will be the year of the travel reset, going slower, nearer and more mindfully. But travel will reset fitfully, mirroring the vaccination rollout, which has prompted optimism as well as tentativeness.

Travel considerations will be assessed more mindfully in the future

As home and work lives merged during the pandemic, work dominated. A working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the average workday grew 48.5 minutes during the pandemic in 16 large metropolitan areas in North America, Europe and the Middle East, prompting employers to emphasise self-care, beginning with vacations, even if they are domestic ones.

This trend explains the ways travel will be reset in 2021, including making travel regenerative, challenging overtourism; correcting undertourism; the concept of tentative travel; embracing nature and putting purpose first.

Looking ahead, GWS forecast that 2021 may be the year that all travel becomes wellness travel.

Be informed...

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