The Government intends to capture at least 1.0 per cent of the global spa and wellness industry globally which would diversify the tourism offering of the country.
Locally, the sector includes primarily independent boutiques and spas, hotel spas and wellness centres and traditional spas. From the Governmental level, special focus is being placed on Milk River Mineral Bath in Clarendon and Bath Fountain in St. Thomas.
“Not many countries have the potency of our mineral baths. In fact, we probably are in the top five or top three. Our infrastructure needs significant enhancement for the product to be marketed properly,” according to Dr. Guyan Ascott a member of the Government-appointed Health and Wellness Network Committee in a recent media interview.
With vision 2030 in clear sight, the Government of Jamaica, in seeking to diversify the economy and stimulate growth, has not only dipped their toes into the health and wellness tourism sector, but are going for the full treatment. The Global Spa and Wellness Summit estimates the size of the health and wellness sector to be worth US$438.6 billion globally, 7.2 per cent of the US$3.2 trillion dollar global tourism industry.
The development initiative falls under the Government’s Service Sector Strategy and Expansion plan and is furhter encouraged by the Omnibus Incentives Legislation which provides fiscal incentives via reduced customs duty and additional stamp duty rates and reduced corporate income tax rates for investors.
The Government is seeking to upgrade traditional spa facilities to world-class standards coupled with appropriate training across the sector. Investments are encouraged in the development/upgrade of existing facilities and expansion accross the sector. “We are looking at a research in the inventory, what it is that we have on the ground, what we need to develop, what we need to grow. We know we have got excellent mineral spas and so on, which are second to none…which need to be developed,” states Dr. Henry Lowe, Chairman of the Health and Wellness Network Committee in a recent media report.