Gov't to invest $66m on development of health and wellness tourism

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Gov't to invest $66m on development of health and wellness tourism

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says that over the next three years the Tourism Linkages Network intends to invest $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, Bartlett 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.”

According to a statement from the ministry, 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,” Bartlett said.

The 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.

He said of those plants 193 have been tested for bioactivity and crude extracts from samples have identified natural products, which are bioactive.

Bartlett added that 31 of the plants tested were endemic to Jamaica, which he said “possesses the ideal conditions for cultivation of a wide variety of medicinal herbs'”.

“More so that 60 per cent of the world's major medicinal herbs are currently grown in Jamaica,” he added.

The minister said the focus on health and wellness forms part of the Tourism Ministry'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,” Bartlett argued.

The ministry said that the health and wellness network, headed by scientist Dr Henry Lowe, has been working with partners to develop an effective governance framework to make Jamaica's wellness industry more internationally competitive.

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