A workshop of Health and Wellness was held at the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) conference room on Friday July 24th. The conference was the initiative of the GIDC, the Ministry of Tourism, the Grenada Tourism Board and La Source and La Luna, from the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association.
GIDC’s Chairman, Mr Henry Joseph, in delivering his opening address said that the spa and wellness sector has tremendous potential for Grenada’s Tourism Industry. Mr. Asquith Duncan in delivering the opening remarks on behalf of the Grenada Board of Tourism welcomed the initiative to bring the spa and wellness stakeholders together and assured participants of the support of the Grenada Board of Tourism.
Key stakeholders participating in the conference included the Grenada Board of Tourism, the GIDC and St. George’s University; spa hotels and resorts (La Luna, La Source, Mont Cinnamon, Spice Island Beach Resort, Flamboyant Hotel, Alamanda Beach Resort, Maca Bana, Coyaba Beach Resort); key herbal and essential oil suppliers (Noelville Ltd., Arawak Islands, Belzeb, Spice Isle Plantations); Tour Operators (Huggins), Independent Spas, wellness and beauty centers (Grenada Chiropractor, Carolus Cosmetics, Body and Soul Fitness, A Cut Above); major hotel and resort developers (Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts/Cinnamon 88 and Levera Resort) and a number of other individuals and community participants (e.g. Rastafarian Dynasty, George Greaves Massage Therapy Services, Foot Print Yoga, Natural Mystic).
The objectives of the workshop were to bring key stakeholders together; to explore the potential of health and wellness tourism for Grenada; to share key market research on the sector; to explore the strategies of competitors such as Cuba, Barbados, St. Lucia, India and Thailand; and to develop key actions and strategies that would grow the sector in Grenada. A total of 95.8% of the 24 participants claimed that the workshop achieved its objectives and another 100% found the workshop met their expectations; almost two-thirds found the presentations, levels of participation and facilitation to be either very good or excellent.
This Spa and Wellness initiative was funded by the European Union and the Caribbean Export Development Agency. The company, Tourism Intelligence International, based in Germany and Trinidad and Tobago and headed by Dr. Auliana Poon, carried out the market research and facilitated the workshop.
The key results of the Health and wellness Tourism workshop are as follows:
- Stakeholders agreed to form a Spa and Wellness Association to further the interests of the sector. The Grenada Association will be a chapter of the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association located in the Dominica Republic. The first meeting of the founding committee will take place at the GIDC on Thursday July 30th at 10.00am.
- Stakeholders believed very much in the need to encourage Grenadians and the entire country thinking, feeling and being well and healthy and taking part in programmes to promote Good Health (e.g. Yoga, Thai Chi, Fitness, Diet, alternative medicines, use of local herbs, spices and essential oils, etc.). Health and wellness needs to become a NATIONAL PASTIME – Health and Wellness for All.
- Stakeholders banned together to provide more than 300 opportunities for key targeted decision makers to better understanding of the sector. La Source will provide 2 complementary treatments per week for the next year (104); La Luna will provide 1 per week for the next year (52); Body and Soul will provide 52 treatments and 52 day passes per year (104), Moi Spa will provide one treatment per month (12). Mr.Dennis Noel (Noelville Ltd) will provide (52) complimentary products to each spa per month. These treatments will be provided on a complementary basis to key decision-makers (taxi drivers, tour operators, Permanent Secretaries and government officials, school teachers, travel agents among others).
- The key potential for Grenada in the Health and Wellness tourism sector is in the area of primary and secondary (preventative), focusing on the maintenance of health) rather than tertiary care (hospital treatment and surgical procedures) confirmed Dr. Omowale Amuleru-Marshall of St. George’s University
- In terms of investment promotion, it was felt important to attract investors in the fields of spa, wellness hotels, alternative medicine (e.g. an Ayurvedic Hospital from India; Banyan Tree from Singapore or Shiva Som from Tailand); large pharmecutical companies to engage in research and provide grants for research and also encourage incentives for the sector.
- The nature, beauty and tranquillity of Grenada were seen as key ingredients into the health and wellness sector, and most importantly, the essential herbs, spices and essential oils that can become an important competitive advantage for Grenada.
- More than just a niche in the tourism sector, the health and wellness sector has the potential to reposition Grenada for competitiveness in tourism
Ten key strategies were identified to grow the sector including:
- Environmental Sustainability ( build on the pristine environment of Grenada and ensure that ALL developments are sustainable - “Go Back to Nature”)
- Get Grenadians Involved – Encourage Grenadians to take part in the sector as entrepreneurs, but also as consumers. Build a health and wellness culture in Grenada - call-in programmes on health and wellness, launch a health and wellness day, special prices for locals, etc.
- Develop Vision and high level support for the Health and wellness sector involving wider stakeholders – Ministry of Health, the Media, Ministry of Agriculture, other developers, hotels and resorts and others).
- Develop a Herbal Sub-Sector of Health Wellness – using the spices and essential oils, etc.
- Research and Development – carry out research and development, with the support of the St. Georges University and others, regarding the benefits of many local herbs and plants.
- Advocacy- development of a Spa and Wellness Association that will remote the growth and development of the sector.
- Marketing should be focused on the wellness brand Grenada wants to promote – spa and wellness can create a new positioning statement for Grenada.
- Aim at certification of service providers and seek international recognition of the destination
- Use national, regional and international media to drive the spa and wellness sector
- Education and Training for all in the sector.
Some of the key actions propose are:
- Establishment of a Grenada Chapter of the Spa and wellness association
- Development of an information guide to the health and wellness products – herbs, fruits, vegetables, spices, essential oils, etc. – in Grenada
- Use of celebrities like Kirani James to promote health, wellness and sports.
- Forge linkages between, spas, health, wellness, fitness and sports, agriculture, education and many other bodies including St. Georges University.
- Encourage scholarships to further training of Grenadians in the sector
- Target specific investors and revise incentives to specially develop the sector.
- Create a database of knowledgeable elderly community persons with experience/knowledge in traditional medicine.