Operators in the spa sub-sector of Jamaica’s tourism industry are set to benefit from an operations manual developed to guide them in being safe, efficient and professional at what they do while tapping into the US$4.4 trillion global health and wellness industry.
The COVID-19 Safety Manual for the Jamaican Spa Sector, produced by the Tourism Linkages Network (TLN), a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), provides comprehensive guidelines and recommendations for spa operators serving the tourism sector to ensure the health and safety of employees and guests by minimizing the spread of COVID-19 during spa treatment services.
The manual’s contents follow guidelines and regulations of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of Tourism’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, as well as those of the International Spa Association, the World Health Organization and the International Standards Organization.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the manual and the TLN’s Natural Skincare Product Development Workshop recently, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said health and wellness were the key factors driving the travel and hospitality sector as people looked to recover from nearly two years of inertia brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said there was an aggressive effort worldwide to benefit from the wellness market and Jamaica was well-positioned to get a slice of the economic pie but “we must prepare and be ready to meet the demands that the post-COVID traveller will place upon every one of us.”
Many of the competing countries do not have half of the assets with which Jamaica is blessed, said Bartlett, however, “COVID-19 has turned up many critical questions; a recurring one being, can visitors feel safe coming to our destination and availing themselves of all the products that we are selling them?”
He said with destination assurance now a prerequisite and a key to future tourism success, Jamaica must be committed to the promise it makes to visitors, “assuring them of an authentic, safe and seamless experience, which is respectful to the community and environment.”
Bartlett underscored to spa operators the importance of improving on the delivery of crucial areas of destination assurance with “efficiency, effectiveness, and top-class service being entrenched in all aspects of the visitor’s experience.” This called for having first-rate facilities, professionally trained staff and appealing indigenous products that meet international market standards, he stated.
The minister said it was very important that the TLN’s Health and Wellness Network had identified wellness products, especially those which can be produced locally and utilised in spas, as a core aspect of its strategy to develop Jamaica’s health and wellness tourism product.
“As a policy of the ministry of tourism, we are committed to the development of a tourism industry that offers an authentic Jamaican experience with its diversity of cultural norms. This embodies making available to our visitors, indigenous products created and produced by our very talented people,” he added.
Participants who attended the workshop, both online and physically at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, also heard from the Chairman of the TLN’s Health and Wellness Network, Kyle Mais, who pointed to the worldwide value of the spa industry and the many products that can be produced locally from Jamaican raw material.
They also heard from Dr Aisha Jones, who worked with the TLN as a consultant to develop the manual. She noted that while at the outset 72 per cent of travellers were very nervous about visiting a spa, 80 per cent were now willing to spend more on spa treatment.
It was further outlined that the document is readily available, as interested persons can access the manual in digital format via the following link: https://bit.ly/3DBS6EQ or contact the TLN via the following email address to collect a copy: firstname.lastname@example.org.