What makes the location a fitting setting for the Global Wellness Summit?
Italy in general is unique for its combination of arts, culture, nature, food, style and design – in a word, quality of life – which makes it the ideal location for a global event focusing on wellness.
At Technogym, our strategic vision of being ‘The Wellness Company’ permeates our entire innovation processes, operations and business approach. That’s why we felt the need to create the Technogym Village 10 years ago, which is not only our company headquarters, but the first example of a wellness campus in the world. It’s a wellness-inspired workplace for our team, but it’s also a place to inspire the industry and is open to all stakeholders – industry operators, trainers, partners, architects, doctors, institutions, media – to develop new wellness projects, business and social models.
What is the Wellness Valley and what might delegates learn from it?
The Technogym Village is also an educational and cultural hub that’s strongly connected with the local community, thanks to the work of The Wellness Foundation – the nonprofit body I created to promote wellness culture, research and education – which has helped form the Wellness Valley in the region. The project has involved public administration, private companies, schools, the public healthcare system and touristic operators. Today, we have more than 50 best practices – free summer exercise programmes for the elderly in the parks, wellness educational programmes in the public schools and new sport and wellness-orientated tourist packages that combine things like biking, art and gastronomy.
Independent surveys have shown that people in the area are 10 per cent more physically active than in the rest of the country. The Wellness Valley is a unique wellness ecosystem. It’s been presented at the World Economic Forum and now the Italian government is looking at us as a pilot project to take inspiration from for wellness policies and practices nationwide. I would be really proud and pleased if delegates at the GWS can also take inspiration from our experiences.
What’s your definition of wellness?
Wellness means feeling good, while fitness means looking good. Wellness is a lifestyle that combines regular physical exercise, a healthy diet and a positive mental approach. Being an Italian company, we took inspiration from our culture: the phrase “mens sana in corpore sano”, or “healthy mind in healthy body”, which dates back to ancient Rome.
Wellness represents an opportunity for both business and social development at the same time. For governments, it can help decrease healthcare costs, by promoting illness prevention and lifestyle education. For businesses, it can increase people’s creativity and productivity. And for citizens, it can mean living a longer and happier life.
What’s the theme for this year’s summit?
This is the first time we’ve been hosted in the global headquarters of a major wellness company. The GWS is laser-focused on the business of wellness, so the theme Shaping the Business of Wellness will be the predominant conversation.
What can you share about the content?
We’ll analyse emerging business opportunities for all wellness markets – not just traditional segments, but how its transforming massive industries such as retail, fashion, design and architecture.
One high-profile keynote is Antonio Citterio, who’s known for his human- and wellness-centric architecture for brands like Technogym, Hermes and Bulgari hotels worldwide. Another keynote is Neil Grimmer, who founded Plum Organics, a line of food for children. Neil has now started a new company, Habit, which analyses DNA, bloodwork and metabolism to provide people with a personalised nutrition programme. He’s really disruptive in the nutrition space and people will be fascinated by what he’s doing, as personalised wellness is an extraordinarily hot topic. Food and nutrition will be front-and-centre this year in other ways as well.
We’re also going to facilitate a discussion with the large hospitality brands about their vision of the future of wellness and we want to showcase some very successful Italian spa and wellness programmes.
There will be a complete update of the Global Wellness Economy Monitor, outlining the size, scope, trends and five-year growth projections for market segments. There will also be an in-depth regional-level analysis and a look at top country markets. The more that this message is out there about the growth of wellness tourism, the easier it is for governments to promote it and for consumers to understand what it is.
How will the location influence the summit?
Fitness and mind/body is something that we’re going to focus on a bit more.
Having an experience of the place will be woven in, so people will learn about Technogym; it’s a hugely successful company and Nerio’s story is very interesting. We’re also working to incorporate movement – we may have people dress very casually in workout clothes and there will be opportunities for delegates to experience Technogym’s team of incredible trainers and their equipment.
A subhead of our summit this year is ‘la dolce vita’, or ‘the good life’, and we’ll honour Italy’s great longevity. There’s something about the food, the wine and just sitting around and enjoying time with people – we’ll bring that alive so delegates will have that authentic Italian experience. There’s a strong likelihood meals will be outdoors which also reflects the culture and the identity of the place.
What other surprises do you have in store?
Italy, of course, excels when it comes to style and fashion and beauty and art, so we want to bring those concepts alive in ways delegates can relate to. The centrepiece of our gala night will be a fashion show – but through a wellness lens. We’re doing this in partnership with Jessica Jesse of BuDhaGirl, who’s been deeply involved in the fashion world and it will be inspired by the imagery of Louie Schwartzberg and underpinned by Italian classical music.
What should people expect to take away?
People should arrive at the summit hoping to learn about how the industry is being shaped and what part they have in it. They’ll leave knowing more about how they’re going to shape their own business and how that impacts the industry as a whole. Wellness is transforming so many arenas and there’s such value in seeing the bigger picture.