Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is upbeat about the upcoming Caribbean Health and Wellness Tourism Conference and Expo which is set for June 15-16, 2019 at the Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Minister Bartlett, who was World Tourism Minister of the Year in 2017, will be a keynote speaker at the event, which will also feature other speakers from across the Caribbean including former Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) chairman, Vincent Vanderpool Wallace.
“I am excited about that. I am looking forward to it because Jamaica is going to be very researched in terms of what the health and wellness industry offers now, and we are going to be very clear in terms of pointing to investment areas within it that we think our local people in particular can tap into,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“The event is very, very important, because it is another statement of the thought leadership that Jamaica does provide for the world today in a number of areas. And when we bring the world community here, to cerebrate on key matters of importance to the industry, it positions Jamaica as centre for discussion and also for the creation of new ideas and innovation. And so it is very, very important indeed to us,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett also said the time has now come for Jamaica to capitalise on the multi-billion dollar wellness tourism industry, by utilising its indigenous fruits and herbs and other natural products. He said the country’s entrepreneurs should look towards concentrating on value-added products and investing in the tourism value chain as opposed to exporting commodities as primary products, as has been done traditionally.
“The health and wellness sector is critical. It is a fast-growing sector and with the cannabis experience that is going to be playing a big role in health and wellness for Jamaica along with the spas and the natural hot springs that we have in Jamaica. I have been travelling, looking at facilities of that nature across the world; I just came out of Turkey where they are very strong in Health and Wellness and they have been able to use like wraps and local oils effectively,” he explained.
“Jamaica has a rich biodiversity from which we can extract enormously potent wraps and oils and scrubs and so on. And we can use traditional commodity products like coffee that has always been seen more for its beverage value but there is so much more that we can extract from the coffee plant and from the berries themselves that can create a whole new chain of value that provides jobs and economic well-being for so many people,” Mr. Bartlett said.