FROM Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14, wellness enthusiasts and experts and folks from across the region interested in leading and promoting healthy lifestyles will gather at the Hilton Kingston Hotel for the 2009 staging of the Caribbean VeggieFest, Spa and Wellness Conference. Now in its fifth year, the festival is being held in partnership with the Hilton Kingston, also the title sponsors and co-producers of the eagerly anticipated event.
Under the theme Wellness Tourism: A Global Phenomenon with a Caribbean Flavour, Caribbean VeggieFest stakes its claim as a ‘unique wellness professional trade show and conference’ that promises to showcase the best the region has to offer in wellness tourism and healthy living. The fest is expected to draw some 15,000 attendees over the three days. Representatives from wellness centres, health spas and salons, exercise and fitness gurus, spa equipment manufacturers and technicians, as well as students of spa management programmes will be in attendance.
“We recommend this Wellness Conference and Trade Show to persons from ages 12 to 80 who feel that good health is the most important thing in life. In addition, we produce this event as a celebration of the vegan lifestyle,” shares Sharon Parris-Chambers, co-founder and co-producer of Caribbean VeggieFest.
For Parris-Chambers, a wellness enthusiast in her own right, there is much to be thrilled about concerning the upcoming event. “We are most excited about the culinary showcase with six master chefs preparing 'finger-licking' gourmet vegetarian foods, headlined by Dr. Aris Latham, a food scientist and founder of Sunfired Foods and De-tox Centre, based at Coyaba Gardens in Ocho Rios,” she says.
Meanwhile, Parris-Chambers says there are plans afoot to ensure the growth and survival of Caribbean VeggieFest. “We certainly will build on the VeggieFest product. We have been invited to Panama in October 2009 to build the VeggieFest, Spa & Wellness Conference ‘brand’ and we have been approached by other wellness companies to engage in exploratory discussions,” she explains.
Adds Parris-Chambers: “We are looking at working collaboratively with Jamaica Wellness Cluster, guided by Jamaica Business Development Corporation; Caribbean Export Development Agency based in Barbados; Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association (headed by Steve Andrews of Soothing Touch Spa in Barbados.) and Group D1 S.A., a destination management company in Panama. These representatives will be attending our VeggieFest conference. We welcome other entrants who will help the wellness industry move from fragmentation to amalgamation. The overall objective is to widen the value chain and to firmly establish Jamaica as the ‘wellness capital’ of the Caribbean.”