Research in Action: Global Wellness Economy Data Powers Japan Roundtable on Wellness Tourism 

In November 2023, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) released data for Japan’s wellness economy and its 11 sectors, under GWI’s Geography of Wellness program. A coalition of public-private leaders in the Fukui Prefecture leveraged that important data to kick off a region-wide wellness tourism promotion effort. On November 11, 2023, the region hosted an event at Eiheiji, or the “temple of eternal peace”, the most prominent training monastery for Zen Buddhism. Attended by more than a hundred regional stakeholders, this event was the first of its kind in Japan, coalescing local government leaders, medical experts, tourism promotion agencies, and businesses from diverse wellness sectors to discuss opportunities for wellness tourism in the Fukui region.  

Representing the GWI, senior research fellow Ophelia Yeung gave a keynote presentation on the concept of wellness and unveiled the latest wellness market data for Japan. Integrative medicine leader and GWI advisory board member Michael Roizen, MD, shared the latest research on longevity. Global Wellness Summit (GWS) board member Yoriko Soma facilitated a roundtable where experts and business leaders shared their insights on unique wellness assets in Japan and the Fukui region: Zen Buddhism, local culinary traditions, J beauty, wellness music, mountain landscapes for forest bathing, local hot springs, community-centered yoga, scent and fragrances, Japanese culture and philosophy, and more. It is no surprise that these opportunities are well aligned with the 11 sectors within GWI’s definition of the wellness economy.  

The event was attended by more than a hundred local leaders from government, wellness businesses, and the media. Other delegates representing wellness tourism, healthcare, wellness real estate, consulting, and investment traveled from Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo to participate in the roundtable. There was enormous enthusiasm and interest in developing wellness tourism as the desired, high-quality tourism for the region’s communities (rather than mass tourism), in anticipation of the bigger flow of visitors who will soon be able to travel to the region via a new bullet train.  

This wellness industry roundtable was jointly organized and sponsored by the Fukui Prefecture and local municipalities, in collaboration with the private sector. It is an excellent example of how rigorous wellness industry data can facilitate and strengthen dialogue, strategy, and planning among stakeholders to bring the benefits of the wellness industry to the entire community.  

Read Forbes’s coverage of the event (in Japanese, with translation available). 

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