Health and wellness tourism is now an international trend driven by health conscious consumers seeking to enhance their wellbeing through their travel experiences. Health tourism is travel undertaken by clients with medical conditions to enjoy a more salutary environment, to seek out alternative therapeutic treatments/therapies, or to visit a health spa. Wellness tourism is travel for the purpose of enhancing and engaging all aspects of a person’s physical, mental, spiritual, and social wellbeing, especially when maintained or achieved through healthy diet and regular exercise such as massage therapy, thalasso therapy or fitness training.
According to a Commonwealth Secretariat study, the worldwide health and wellness sector is a $ 40 billion market and is estimated to be growing at 30% per annum. Recognising that it is unlikely to ever be a serious medical tourism destination, but there are huge potential economic benefits in health and wellness tourism in the Caribbean, Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has collaborated with the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association (C-SWA) on a project to strategically assist the 15 CARIFORUM member countries; Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Belize, Dominica Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, the Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago, in developing and promoting health and wellness tourism.
The project will begin later this year and will focus on;
• Market research and strategy development
• Marketing and promotion
• Standards development
The Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) welcomes this initiative as it follows up on a study of Grenada’s health and wellness tourism sector undertaken in 2009, by GIDC in collaboration with La Luna and La Source, with assistance from the European Union through Caribbean Export Development Agency.
According to a new research report from Companiesandmarkets.com; The Caribbean experienced a mixed start to 2010, with sharp differences between countries in terms of tourist arrivals. In general, the picture was positive, with several countries posting increases in tourist arrivals, following a year of overall decline in 2009. St Lucia and the US Virgin Islands registered high levels of arrivals growth. Other countries including Aruba, Dominican Republic and Barbados experienced smaller levels of arrivals growth, while Bermuda had a quite dramatic drop in arrivals. These figures show that the local tourism market has not fully recovered, hence the increased interest in promoting spa and wellness tourism.