History of Caribbean Health Tourism Spa Conference (Symposium)
(Now LatinCaribe Wellness Network)
Latin Caribe Wellness Network is a division of PanaCarib Business Solutions (PanaCarib) headquartered in Panama, with a registered office in Negril, Jamaica, West Indies. Positive Tourism Network established in 2002, was rebranded as PanaCarib Business Solutions as part of its strategic development in 2009.
The company has focused its competencies in: Web design and web hosting, health and wellness tourism and marketing.
Theo Chambers, Chairman, a health enthusiast and vegan for over 33 years and Sharon Parris-Chambers, President, also a vegan, created a Health Tourism Feature on the popular radio station Power 106 FM to stimulate awareness for the healthy alternative lifestyle.
It was during the programming of Caribbean Tourism Roundtable and our feature on Health Tourism with special guest Dr. Anthony Vendryes, that we established the untapped potential of Health Tourism. Dr. Tony Vendryes’ research discovered over 3 million hits in a Google online search under ‘Health Tourism’.
A leader in tourism news feature broadcasting, Positive Tourism earned a broadcasting award for its innovative approach from Counterpart International at the Caribbean Media Exchange Award on June 24, 2004 for a Tourism Feature entitled “Jamaica’s One Love Message and its link to World Tourism”. (Music Ambassadors represented on the programme were: Abijah, Denroy Morgan, Founder of Morgan Heritage, Ernie Smith; Bush Man, Junior Reid, Prezident Brown and others)
We have since been on an exciting journey to develop Health Tourism in Jamaica. Health Tourism is an emerging field which includes the following segments:
• Medical Tourism
• Dental Tourism
• Spa (and Thalassotherapy)
• Wellness Torism
• Sports Tourism (not for spectators)
. Fitness Tourism
• Culinary Tourism
• Ambient Assisted Living or Adult Wellness Programmes
The successful development of health tourism in any destination requires the elimination of fragmentation of segments. Therefore, we propose an integrated approach to Health Tourism, which includes the foregoing segments each part working together in an inter-dependent domain (Network).
The Company established the first spa association named Caribbean Resort & Day Spa Association, Caribbean Chapter on February 7, 2005 in an official launch ceremony, which was sponsored by The Ministry of Tourism and its Agencies, the Day Spa Association and International Medical Spa Association, USA. Positive Tourism received a mandate from Aloun Assamba, the former Minister of Tourism, in 2005, to pioneer the way in establishing health tourism as a mainstay in Jamaica and to help brand the Caribbean as the Health Tourism Mecca.
Caribbean Health Tourism Collaboration
On May 15, 2007, the IMSA/RDSA collaborated with the Caribbean Export New Sectors Division to stage a conference at the Hilton Kingston Hoel. Eric Light, President, International Medical Spa Association, gave the keynote address. The joint programme was coordinated by Sharon Parris-Chambers, Executive Director of the Resort & Day Spa Association/International Medical Spa Association Caribbean.
The Wellness Revolution, which came into prominence back in the 1990s, had anticipated the growth of the wellness industry’s trillion dollar business, which has now spawned this most recent amalgamation of Health, Spa and Culinary segments.
Caribbean VeggieFest- Health Tourism & Spa Conference 2008
On Saturday, March 15, 2008, several Panelists gave their contributions which begun
with “Using Healing Streams of Wellness” and continued on Sunday with “Let your Food be your Medicine and your Medicine be your Food.”
Caribbean VeggieFest – Health Tourism & Spa Conference 2008, was a mega event, a celebration of wellness from a holistic perspective with its foundation in vegetarianism.
The Culinary Section had its focus on preparation of a wide variety of vegetarian foods available in the Caribbean, including five star gourmet preparations, raw foods, healthy juices, natural pies, natural herbs & spices, natural wines & tonics (from plant sources). Exhibitors included vegetarian restaurants, vegetarian food purveyors, juice makers, natural seasoning producers, herb growers, and a farmers market.
The Health Section took a more professional approach by having wellness professionals from around the world sharing their knowledge and expertise in the form of workshops and seminars. This section is usually reserved for individuals who are in the health and wellness industries and are looking to improve their skills, knowledge and marketing strategies.
The Spa Section focused on how to run a successful and professional spa. Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica gave demo Massages and showcased their studens spa technicians. Spa and wellness professionals displayed their unique modalities. The use of Caribbean natural products were showcased.
The fifth staging of the Caribbean VeggieFest, Spa & Wellness Conference was held on June 12-14, 2009 at the Hilton Kingston Jamaica. It was well attended by wellness professionals, secondary & tertiary school students and consumers interested in the healthy lifestyle.
Commitment to Health & Wellness Tourism
Over the years, Positive Tourism Network and now LatinCaribe Wellness Network has demonstrated its commitment to health and wellness through its philosophy of lifestyle transformation. The vision of healing our minds, body and spirit through thoughts, words, and food has been a constant theme throughout our Health and Wellness events.
The sixth staging was held in Panama, April 20, 2010 during national Health Week, April 5 - 12, 2010 and was produced by LatinCaribe Wellness Network in association with Ageless Wonders of Panama, a well-known Medical Tourism facilitating company. Ageless Wonders Panama is partnered with Vision Care with an office (clinic) of Opthamology at Punta Pacifica Hospital.
The conference, entitled Caribbean and Latin America VeggieFest, Spa & Wellness Conference, was produced on April 10 – 11, 2010 in the Clubhouse of Parque Omar, Panama City, Panama. The Wellness Conference was lauded by the sector.
Dr. Una Clarke, former New York City Council Representative and Financial consultant, officially opened the conference. She later toured Colon with her delegation (Bishop Sylvesta Hamilton-Gonzales and Patricia Muir). Dr. Clarke pledged her assistance in the re-development of Colon for its original residents and for the benefit of future generations.
Wellness pioneers and producers of the event, Theo Chambers and Sharon Parris-Chambers, broke new ground in wellness development with the launch of the LatinCaribe Wellness trade show brand, which featured three of the fastest growing segments of wellness: Culinary, Health and Spa.
Radha Vegetarian Paradise and Sunfired Food were the primary representatives of the Culinary segment. Dr. Aris Latham, known as the ‘Father of Ethical gourmet raw foods,’ founder of Sunfired Foods and Sunfire Culinary Institute was the keynote speaker on both days, providing the principles for raw food selection, preparation, and gastronomy. An enduring proponent of organic food, Dr. Latham eschewed the excessive use of pesticides, which is a growing concern of the healthy lifestyle seekers and national importers alike. He used the forum to show health seekers that the human body was designed for eating fruits and vegetables, live food with enzymes that are ‘Sunfired’ made fit for eating by the sun, not artificial fire or chemicals.
Exhibitors representing the Health segment were: Mrs. Flavia Fontes, (Ministry of Health, Panama); Eric De Ycaza (Ageless Wonders Panama); Senapan, Dra. Ilka De Obaldia Faruggia ( Punta Pacifica) and Aspciación Vegetariana De Panama.
Representives of the Spa segment were: Dr. Golda Joseph (Alta Vita Spa); Dr. Marianela C. Tuñon (Therapy Skin Galeniq ); Rachel Divine (Yoga Divina) ; Lorraine Washington (Fit Cuisine -Fitness & Culinary); Hillary Sepulveda ( Exquisite Panama & Mell Mineral Cosmetics), and Adaliz De Sedas ( Bamboga -Yoga).
Theo Chambers provided facilitation and training in entrepreneurship commensurate with the manuscript of his latest book “Theo’s Theory on becoming a Boxless Entrepreneur”. Sharon Parris-Chambers engaged the audience in group discussion which highlighted the need for establishing the proper infrastructure for medical tourism growth and development; tourism training for job development and the establishment of new markets for import and export of goods and services.
The producers explored the positive outcomes from the conference and have been immersed in discussions with various wellness entities seeking consultations and collaborations.