Bridgetown, Barbados — “The time is ripe for the Caribbean to capitalise on the health and wellness industry.” This was one of the comments from Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) executive director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton in her opening remarks at a two-day regional spa and wellness project closing meeting that commenced on Tuesday in Barbados.
Hosted by Caribbean Export in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), regional industry practitioners convened to review the results to date and identify the next steps of the implementation strategy to support the regions health and wellness tourism industry.
As noted by Coke-Hamilton, the Caribbean has a strong history as a major tourist destination and consequently tourism is the most significant contributor to many of the economies across the region. In view of this Coke-Hamilton said that “the onus was on us in the Caribbean to take ownership and responsibility for the diversification of the industry to ensure that the region benefits from the changing demands of visitors”.
The global spa and wellness industry is said to worth some US$2 trillion according to Coke-Hamilton and thus “we must address issues such as ensuring that across the region, international standards are being implemented, that the Caribbean brand is receiving adequate visibility and representation in key markets and that the policies and regulatory frameworks are in place to facilitate the development of the sector”.
Following the review of the project over the two days, including the lessons learnt across the region, the group hopes to chart a clear path forward with revision to the regional strategy accordingly to support the growth and sustainable development of the regional spa and wellness sector.