The development of specialized tourism markets has been recognized by the Governments of the CARIFORUM region as a means to economic diversification. The Regional Private Sector Development Programme of the 10th EDF has consequently identified the development of specialized tourism as a priority area for export development. Spa and Wellness (S&W) tourism has therefore been selected as one of the specialized tourism products in this regard.
S&W tourism a spinoff from the Health and Wellness revolution, has been sweeping through much of the Western world, in particular Western Europe and North America. The estimated global market size of the health and wellness industry is said to be nearly USD 2 trillion.
While statistics on the size of S&W tourism in CARIFORUM are not available, it is widely believed that the sector is relatively small and underdeveloped. However the region possesses key infrastructure and resources that could allow it to be a major regional player in the global S&W tourism market space. The region already boasts of over twenty world class spas inclusive of The Body Holiday- Le Sport (St Lucia), Sandy Lane (Barbados), Four Seasons (Nevis) and Sugar Ridge (Antigua).
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has therefore signed an agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as Administrator of the CARTFund for implementation of a Health and Wellness Tourism project, with the specific objective of contributing to the growth of the spa and wellness segment of the tourism industry in CARIFORUM countries.
The project supports the implementation of a first phase of the longer-term development of a Caribbean Brand for the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Sector as detailed in C-SWA’s Work Plan. The three major components of the Project are:
(a) Market Research and Strategy Development to give strategic direction for improving the capability of the health and wellness (H&W) sector in CARIFORUM countries, to highlight its Caribbean characteristics and to realize its potential in the fast growing global market. This research will be a useful first step towards the ultimate goal of developing a Caribbean H&W tourism brand;
(b) Marketing and Promotion of the Region’s H&W product with the aim of raising the Caribbean’s international profile and reputation in relation to this sector, through inter alia the development of a website, exposure to best practice and participation in trade shows; and
(c) Standards Development for improved quality of goods and services in the industry and consumer protection in keeping with international benchmarks.