By  on May 11, 2007

The spa industry is about to enter into territory that acknowledges its $40 billion annual worth: It's getting a summit.

The first ever Global Spa Summit is being held in New York May 20 to 22, where executives from the global spa, hospitality, financial and travel and wellness sectors will discuss industry forecasts, market research and the various spa markets around the world.

The invitation-only, three-day event will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and is underwritten by Spa Finder Inc., a spa marketing and media company, in collaboration with a team of international advisers, including Richard Dusseau of Spa Strategy; Anne McCall Wilson, vice president of spas for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Inc., and Jeff Matthews, president of Mandara Spa. The summit will include panels and presentations for 150 of the industry's key decision makers, including Susan Harmsworth, founder and chief executive officer of Espa; Sylvia Sepielli, a renowned spa designer and executives from Mandarin Oriental spas, Fairmont Willowstream spas, Pevonia and Clarins.

Keynote speakers, such as Steve Case, the founder of Revolution LLC and AOL, and Kevin Kelly, the president of Canyon Ranch, will address attendees, who are expected to come from many countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Bali, Russia, Turkey and Germany.

Harmsworth, who is also a speaker at the summit, will address the crowd May 21 in a speech titled "The Integrity of Spa Globally," which will include her definition of what a spa actually is.

She said she is excited about the summit, specifically its global nature.

"They have gathered together a great list of spa professionals. What I always worry about is that some summits tend to attract self-promoters, and those that are parochial without a global view. The globalization element at a senior level is what is really interesting here," she said.

Findings from the conference will be shared with the press May 22, and will be reported by Luxury SpaFinder magazine in upcoming issues.

Spa Finder ceo Pete Ellis said the need for a summit became apparent since the industry had no focal point to discuss any standardization.

"This will educate property owners of what financing might be available to them, what is happening on a global basis that affects modalities and the health and wellness sector and how to 'un-confuse' the customer."To narrow down a list of attendees, multiple lists were gathered over the past year and mulled over by an advisory committee.

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