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MONTEGO Bay, Jamaica; November 21, 2019: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says that over the next 3 years, the Tourism Linkages Network intends to invest JM$66 million, to develop Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Tourism product.
Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony for the inaugural Jamaica Health and Wellness Tourism Conference, the Minister noted that, “Jamaica has a genesis in Health and Wellness as a tourism industry, and we want to drive that and spend more time on building it out. Therefore, we will be spending $22 million annually, over the next three years to assist this process.”
The Network will also be working in partnership with industry stakeholders to help Jamaicans create accredited market ready health and wellness tourism services, based on their knowledge of traditional uses of endemic herbs and plants.
“Jamaica has been famous for all these oils that come from our ‘bush’ or herbs. But for us to be able to leverage all of that cultural heritage so that it can have an enormous impact in the tourism space, will be a huge development,” said the Minister.
The Tourism Minister pointed to studies, which have identified to-date, 334 plants growing in Jamaica that can be used for medicinal purposes, with the unofficial list being 366.
“Of these plants, 193 have been tested for bioactivity and crude extracts from samples of these have identified natural products, which are bioactive.
31 of these plants tested were endemic to Jamaica, which possesses the ideal conditions for cultivation of a wide variety of medicinal herbs, more so that 60% of the world’s major medicinal herbs are currently grown in Jamaica,” he said.
This focus on Health and Wellness forms part of the Ministry of Tourism’s mission to expand tourism beyond the traditional “sand, sea and sun” concept.
“Research has also shown that health and wellness tourism represents one of the fastest growing travel segments. Therefore, we must find ways to better support the enhancement and development of Jamaica’s health and wellness product,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Health and Wellness Network, headed by acclaimed scientist Dr. Henry Lowe, has been working with partners to develop an effective governance framework to make Jamaica’s wellness industry more internationally competitive.
The Network will also be packaging, promoting and marketing health and wellness assets as an important tourism niche area.
The Jamaica Health and Wellness Conference took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from November 20 – 21, 2019. It brought together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Health and Wellness Tourism.
Discussions focused on global health and wellness tourism data and insights; Wellness travel experiences; Nutraceuticals; Herbaceuticals; Medical tourism; and the Health and Wellness Tourism value chain.
The Tourism Linkages Network, which is a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, organized the event with the assistance of key industry partners. It is the first event of its kind to take place in the island.