Wellness tourism: the new frontier of earning for Jamaica

We have to look at wellness not only as exercising and diet but as a form of real estate. (Photo: Pexels)

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

There are six to 12 dimensions of wellness. These include emotional, physical, mental, social, and environmental wellness. A nation that believes in the wellness of its people is on the road to great development and growth.

The global reset resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced the world to experience a new quality of living and positive experiences. Wellness is the word on the lips of global tourism, and Jamaica needs to identify this and create the avenue to earn. This shift to wellness will help guests enjoy the unique experience that a country, its culture, and people have to offer. It stands to engage their physical, emotional, psychological state to awaken a new quality of living and not just existing.

The Global Wellness Report further states that wellness tourism was valued at $4.4 trillion in 2020, and based on the Global Wellness Report of February 2022, Jamaica ranked 107. Our neighbour Cuba earns US$2.7 billion and is ranked 76 in the world for wellness tourism.

Of note, Jamaica has natural resources we can explore without exploiting and over commercialising and still contribute to the gross domestic product earning opportunity for the country. Against that backdrop we need to realise that other countries have white sand beaches, rum, spectacular hotels, too, and music, plus a greater integration of our local holistic treatments. Take, for example, a popular global wellness tourism option – thermal spring treatments. In Europe, these are large earners for specialised spa and thermal clay retail stores. We have the Bath Fountain in St Thomas and Milk River Bath in Clarendon, which have the potential to be major earning opportunities. Bath Fountain’s water has healing properties that can help with acne, pain management, and others ailments. Milk River Bath can offer thalassotherapy, which is unique. With structure and proper training, design, and leadership, these can be large earning opportunities for St Thomas and Clarendon.

We have to look at wellness not only as exercising and diet but as a form of real estate and perhaps a beauty product and take seriously the earnings it can bring to the people of this country, how it can improve quality of life, and increase the life expectancy.

It’s not too late for Jamaica to be one of the earners in this multi-billion dollar global wellness market. Let’s diversify the tourism experience with authentic Jamaican spa treatments and beauty products, marrying them with our natural Jamaican hidden gems so that tourists can experience the true culture and spaces that truly make us a unique destination.

Richard Martin is a certified massage and general beauty therapist who worked in construction and wastewater management before transitioning into the beauty and wellness industry. He trained the first cohort of visually impaired massage therapists in this hemisphere and is the first male spa educator to be certified by the America Hotel Lodging Institute as a certified hospitality educator in Jamaica.

Richard Martin.