Negril, Jamaica (June 25, 2020). Representatives of the Wellness Tourism Network recently met with Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism to discuss greater inclusivity of the Wellness Tourism niche and its stakeholders on Sunday, June 14, 2020 on Zoom virtual platform. The Roundtable, moderated by Sharon Parris-Chambers, Tourism Consultant & Co-founder of the Caribbean Health Tourism & Spa Conference (2005 -2009), set a standard in the emerging industry. Representatives of the evening’s session: Sharon & Theo Chambers, Diana McIntyre-Pike, Wolde Kristos & Elizabeth Terry engaged participants in insightful and purposeful dialogue.
The Roundtable Agenda unfolded with Prayer, Welcome Overview and Message, Response by Minister Edmund Bartlett, Questions & Answers and Wrap Up/Next Steps. Diana McIntyre-Pike, President, Countrystyle Community Tourism and Villages as Businesses, outlined the five goals and objectives of the Network during the Welcome Message. These included: To establish an on-going close working relationship between the Wellness Tourism Network and the Ministry of Tourism and its partner agencies; Inclusion of the Wellness Tourism Network experts as active participants in wellness tourism governance – e.g. Boards, councils, committees; Recognize local wellness tourism experts’ eligibility as paid consultants in respective areas of expertise; Ensure inclusion of the Wellness Tourism Network in the planning of key wellness tourism events and to further develop and expand Wellness Tourism in Jamaica & the Caribbean.
The Wellness Tourism Network stakeholders are wellness professionals (complementary and alternative medical practitioners), farmers, herbalists, wellness consultants, naturopaths, manufacturers and wholesalers, researchers and students, owners of resorts and spas, spa technicians, lifestyle transformation centres, owners of yoga and fitness centres.
Sharon Parris-Chambers presented an Update of the Wellness Industry, wherein she called on the Minister to lead the industry through greater integration to include: Local expertise & stakeholders to play a more active role, awareness and utilization of natural resources; diversification of the Sector, which should include Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM).
She further added “Re-imagining of Wellness Tourism should be inclusive of the following: 1) greater awareness of the Jamaica Spa & Wellness Brand 2) Attracting Thought Leaders & Visionaries to Jamaica as a catalyst for more rapid implementation of strategies which, have been coined to positively impact and shape the future of the Caribbean, as the region seeks to fully capitalize on the $4.2 trillion Global Wellness Economy 3) Brand Jamaica must remain unique and include Rastafari, African & Taino healing methods. 4) Developing a Cadre of trained professionals to deliver exceptional Jamaica Spa and Wellness products, services and experiences 5) Inclusion of Spiritual and Mental Health within the definition of Wellness would bring us closer to tapping into the Personal Development Industry estimated to grow to US$13.2 billion by 2022.”
In his response, the Tourism Minister said the Wellness Tourism Network is being recognized; “We take note and I as your Minister, am committed to working with you to build out that experience. And I think that the new norm, is a norm of Health & Wellness. The time for Health & Wellness to emerge as a driving force in the New Tourism is Now.” The Minister said Health & Wellness is going to define the new traveller and he coined the term “Generation C” (Gen C) or “Generation COVID,” to describe “visitors who choose destinations on the basis of ‘Destination Assurance’ where COVID resilience is applied and appreciated.”
The next steps include a follow up meeting with Minister Edmund Bartlett to address the Wellness Tourism Network’s unfolding goals and objectives, a mutual vision of developing Spa Townships (inclusive of eco systems) around Milk River and Bath St. Thomas, and finally to answer the remaining Roundtable questions that were posed by Diaspora colleagues.
Persons interested in the Wellness Tourism Network are encouraged to send an email to