One thing in common for all the Caribbean islands is water, an essential element of life always linked to wellness.
Scientific studies and religions do not contradict themselves when affirming that water can be the root of healing and health. Experts around the world look now more and more at the Caribbean as a region in which water is a crucial factor as a driver towards the well-being destination.
An expanded proposal on the matter is that the Caribbean islands should take advantage of their natural surroundings to build a wellness tourism industry.
“The term spa, means in Latin, healing through water. One thing every Caribbean island has in common is water and water can be the root of healing and health.
I do feel every Caribbean island just takes it for granted that you are surrounded by water, that you got sunshine, your climate, your beaches and nature” said recently Sallie Fraenkel, the Founder and President of Mind Body Spirit Network.
Caribbean to rest and recharge.
Fraenkel told in a recent international conference that while there are a group of people who want to come to the Caribbean to party, the Caribbean could use its natural resources to encourage people to rest and recharge.
“While Boomers, because of their age, are interested in the wellness experience, Millennials have also embraced wellness tourism”, she added.
According to Fraenkel millennials, the second largest population segment, are growing up with the wellness lifestyle. “They are growing up really having it as part of their lives, so they absolutely come with that expectation,” she said.
The expert stressed there are ten industries that comprise wellness tourism: beauty, healthy eating, fitness, mind and body pursuits, preventative and personalized medicine, medical tourism, wellness lifestyle real estate, workplace wellness, the spa industry, thermal and mineral springs, complementary and alternative medicine.
Wellness tourism is a $500 billion market, projected to be about $700 billion. “It is growing much more quickly over all tourism,” Frankel estimates. Looking at the Caribbean, she said only two islands, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, are in the top in wellness tourism.
The Caribbean Development Portal from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) confirmed in its official digital site that global Health and Wellness industry is rapidly expanding as a multi-billion dollar market.
Spa and Wellness Tourism
Spa and Wellness Tourism is a substantial component of the Health and Wellness Industry. ECLAC estimates, however, that this Caribbean sector face significant problems.
“Conceptually these problems can be characterized into two categories: those contributing to insufficient scale and those contributing to the lack of a Caribbean H&W brand identity.
Both contribute to an inability by various marketing agencies to effectively market the Caribbean S&W sector, ultimately leading to limited export earnings from the S&W sector”, the ECLAC study added.
The Spa and Wellness Tourism sector in CARIFORUM countries is generally perceived to be relatively underdeveloped in comparison to destinations such as South East Asia.
The ECLAC opinion is that notwithstanding these problems, the sector has significant strengths which can be leveraged. The proximity of CARIFORUM member states to major centers of demand as well as the diversity of ethnicities, cultural legacies and their associated health and healing practices in the CARIFORUM region are two such leverage points the study said.
The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) is a subgroup of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and serves as a base for economic dialogue with the European Union. Its membership comprises the 15 Caribbean Community states, along with the Dominican Republic.