Health travel key to Jamaica tourism recovery

Health and wellness tourism has been identified by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, as a key area that will help to drive growth in the Jamaica tourism industry in light of the new norm created in the global travel market. The country is targeting Generation C as the new drivers of travel.

At the opening of the Jamaica Health and Wellness Tourism Conference last week, the Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said: “Health and Wellness will become one of the key cornerstones for destination differentiation in our tourism marketing. This is primarily because the new demographic emerging, Gen C, are going to be the new drivers of travel and they are going to require destinations that have strong health security properties.”

‘Gen C’ has been identified as a powerful new force in consumer culture. It is not an age group; but an attitude and mind-set defined by key characteristics such as lifestyles and heavy reliance on social media. Generation C is bigger than any other demographic and is continuously growing. Its members are digital natives who are always connected, communicating, computerised, community-orientated and always clicking. In general, they are realists and materialists as well as being culturally liberal, politically progressive and upwardly mobile. They own a plethora of devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs that are regularly updated and replaced. The key difference is that they require online communication to be super-fast and always interactive so must be communicated with, not talked at. They are huge information sharers on what they like and dislike, so country and company reputations can either grow or be shattered within Gen C in days.

For Jamaica, the coronavirus pandemic has provided a new opportunity in health and wellness tourism. There is now greater demand for a destination to be more ‘pristine’, achieved through investment to ensure a visitor is confident that they will be safe and secure, and have a seamless experience.

Jamaica’s tourism marketing will focus heavily on health, wellness and safety as it seeks to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The new Jamaica’s Destination Assurance Policy will become the guiding light for the country’s own strategies to ensure better management of the destination.

The new health tourism marketing thrust is supported by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA). JHTA also warns that for older people travelling, who have the money to travel and may bring their families, many will have pre-existing health conditions.

The JHTA says that it is important, through collaboration with government and private stakeholders, that the medical facilities within Jamaica be developed to attract more travellers.