July 3, 2012
Bajan Trade Mission promotes health, spa and wellness for Caribbean Tourism Industry

The concept of sun, sea and sand no longer sells itself in the Caribbean tourism industry, and the relevant authorities are being asked to take note.{{more}}

Madaline Headley-Woodroffe, Business Development Officer in the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), has said that the coupling of the traditional tourism features with health, spa and wellness is the way to go, if regional tourism is to remain relevant.

Woodroffe, who was here in St Vincent and the Grenadines with the BIDC from June 25 to 27 on a three-day trade mission, said that the region must be promoted as one product and destination for both health and wellness tourism and for exporting products.

“Persons visiting our region are looking forward to the experience of flavours, sounds and culture, everything that’s Caribbean,” Woodroffe said.

“People coming from Europe do not necessarily want to experience what they do in Europe; they want to see something that takes them away from the drab environment to lift their spirit and enhance their wellbeing, and I would like to encourage who has the ability to do so, to make an effort and let’s be ready for when this really takes off.”

Speaking at a cocktail hosted by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Hotel and Tourism Association at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, Woodroffe, the coordinator of the mission, pointed out that there is room for expansion and growth in the spa and hospitality tourism sector, despite the current economic slump.

She pointed out that the region captures only $175 million of a $40 billion industry.

“We must capitalize on the health and wellness sector. We still have a long way to go in developing this industry, and the only way to do this is through the production of products and support services which is vital to the growth.

“We know at the moment there is economic recession in the region, but there is no reason why all of us cannot do our own small part in developing these sectors.”

She also pointed out that the products being displayed at the trade fair, which was staged at the Methodist Church Hall, were focused on hospitality, health and wellness, and included spa products, condiments, gift accessories, processed foods and other manufactured goods.

According to Woodroffe, the objectives of the mission were to provide Barbadian manufacturers opportunities to capitalize on the CARICOM agreement, to conduct market research, to investigate possible sources of raw material, and to renew and form new alliances in the region.

Earlier in the visit, the BIDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Invest SVG, which will facilitate trade between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.