Virtual SWAA conference celebrates 'smart' wellness regions

This year's event features three days of keynote speeches, panel talks and education sessions


By Lauren Heath-Jones

16 September 2021

Technology, sustainability and wellness are all on the menu at this year’s virtual Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA) Conference. 

The virtual event, called Smart Wellness Regions Africa – Building a Decade of Wellness 2030, runs until September 17 and features keynote speeches, panel talks and education sessions, covering topics such as the future, technology, business wellness, social economics, wellness and sustainability. 

Speakers include ;Elaine Okeke Martin, founder and president of SWAA; Jacoline Wentzel, owner of the Spa Warehouse and executive committee chair of SWAA’s South Africa chapter; John Sanei, co-founder of the School of Modern Wisdom and The Executive Podcast; and Martin Venter, owner of the Val De Die estate in South Africa.

"One of SWAA’s main objectives is to provide a platform for the growth of the spa and wellness industry in Africa through education and standards."

Elaine Okeke-Martin

SWAA founder and president

Other speakers include Sammy Gharieni, CEO of Gharieni Group, who will take part in a panel called ‘Decade of wellness and new developments’. Moderated by SWAA president Elaine Okeke Martin, the panel will discuss what spa owners should consider in terms of wellness estate, medical anti-ageing, wellness equipment and sustainability in luxury.

Gharieni will be joined by Rupert Schmid, CEO of Biologique Recherche;  Leslie Okoye, CEO of Cookie Skin; and Nancy Ndukwe Ositelu, executive director of Beauty Fest Africa.

Madhu Rajesh, executive chief officer at The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, will give a talk, entitled ‘Responsible hospitality in wellness tourism for a better world,’ that will discuss how the hospitality industry is taking collective responsibility to protect and support destinations and communities. 

SWAA’s board of directors will also host a panel discussing the future of the African spa industry, presenting key milestones from the industry and its vision for the industry over the next 10 years. 

“Africa wants to highlight the ‘smart’ in wellness and in 2021 we look at technology, businesses, institutions and government planning for the next decade. How do we improve the scene?” said SWAA president Elaine Okeke-Martin. 

“Join us and connect with international thought leaders to discuss how smart wellness regions growth will influence policies, cities and communities, our industry and our planet.” 

The event concludes with The Africa Spa Awards, which aims to recognise and celebrate the spa and wellness industry across the continent.

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