Barbados develops health tourism market

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BA’s new Caribbean jet serve

In order to expand its tourism product, Barbados recently announced that it was going to focus on developing its tourism product to include health and wellness tourism. The plan is backed by the Barbados Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, who has said that health and wellness tourism is growing faster than the overall travel and tourism industry, and thus Barbados plans to develop its health and wellness market.
The islands tourism providers are in particular looking at the year round potential for cosmetic surgery and non-invasive treatments. The island intends also to focus on the success of its Barbados Fertility Centre, which in 2005 launched an IVF package.
Ministry of Health Secretary, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, said the island could reap the rewards of a global aging population with increasing demands for cosmetic surgery, spas and retirement communities.
The other target market identified focused on young people, particularly in the US, seeking vacations that offer spa facilities, fitness and addiction treatment. She says that the island’s established tourism infrastructure, with its capacity to support the movement of customers and provide world-class hotel services, is the platform for developing the country’s health and wellness tourism market.
A government Task Force on Health and Wellness Travel last year recommended that the Barbados government seek technical assistance to undertake a study and development plan; draft a Health and Wellness Tourism Development Incentives Act; establish a wellness council; develop new legislation to address medical tourism; and establish coordinating bodies to manage the six sectors outlined in the Health Tourism Continuum for Development in Barbados of; wellness promotion, complementary and alternative medicine, healthy food alternatives, assisted living, universal access to tourism products and services and conventional medicine.

The Med might make a come back

It has been predicted that the Euro’s collapse could create a boom in tourism in the traditional Mediterranean holiday destinations of Greece and Spain, according to Douglas McWilliams, of the Centre of Economics and Business Research who was speaking at a recent conference for travel agents. He said that such countries could well decide to reinstall their original currencies should the financial crisis in the eurozone deteriorate even further.
McWilliams predicted that the euro (the currency of Eurozone countries Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) will break up within the next five to 10 years.
He said: “What will happen is that Mediterranean destinations will drop out of the Euro. They should never have joined up in the first place because they hadn’t managed to abolish domestic inflation and when they stayed in they became very uncompetitive,” he added.
“When they come out they will start to be competitive again and will start to structure their economies around tourism again, which is going to be quite important to them.”