The tourism sector of the Dominican Republic has been strongly involved in providing visitors with a Wellness hospitality to those seeking to maintain or improve their personal well-being and spiritual health.
It cannot be denied that all this has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which in addition to causing deaths and affecting physical health, wreaked havoc on the mind by having to assimilate sudden changes, and creating uncertainty and fear in everyday life.
For this reason, and to continue reinforcing the consumption of healthy tourism, the International Wellness Spa Congress will be held in the country for the first time at the Barceló Bávaro Palace Hotel, on October 17, 18 and 19, where the 15 most important speakers in the wellness world will meet.
The congress, which is the most important event of the wellness and spa industry in Latin America and will be held in Punta Cana, is aimed at managers, owners, entrepreneurs, experts and spa professionals, destination, medical, thermal and esthetic centers, medical tourism and wellness professionals.
Flavio Acuña, expert in spa, wellness and transformational leadership, explained to arecoa.com that the congress will mark a before and after in the country, since the referred symposium supports the intentions of President Luis Abinader, who instructed with decree 787-21 to the Ministries of Public Health and Tourism, the elaboration of policies and strategies tending to the sustainable development of health and wellness tourism.
He recalled that the DR, in addition to being recognized for its sun, beach and hospitality offer, is already a reference in the world of wellness because last year 2021 at the World Wellness Weekend (WWW) the country was the only destination to receive three titles as world champion in this segment.
He explained that the congress, which will feature delegations from all over Latin America, Europe and Asia, will meet all international standards and accreditations, as it has the backing of the American Spa Association (AAS), with the DR being its sixth meeting.
“We hope it will be a great party that will impact and motivate people in the 150 countries where it will be broadcast and with it we can further position the Dominican Republic as one of the most important destinations in the world of wellness,” he added.
Acuña, who is also founder of the Spa Natural Center, said that the event has its weight in that today the second industry with the highest turnover in the world is wellness, since it is around 4.4 billion dollars, with estimates for 2025 to reach 7.7 billion dollars, with a growth of 7.9% per year.
“It is recalled that there is a pre and post pandemic, and everyone today is turning to wellness, in search of a different tourist destination where they can make retreats, connect with nature, meditation with Tibetan bowls, crystal therapy, reiki, tikun or tai chi classes at dawn or dusk, medicinal plant workshops, mud therapy,” he emphasized.
He said for all the above mentioned the Dominican Republic is a privileged destination, since it has a natural gear appetizing for others such as rivers, waterfalls, mountains, a diversity of temperature, among others.
He indicated that the natural resources are the perfect magnet, noting that last September more than 390 activities were held throughout the country, with more than 60,000 participants who participated in sports and meditation.
The international speaker also said that the nationalities of people who are very involved in consuming wellness tourism are Americans, which is the main market of the DR, South America and Europe.
As for hotels in the DR that are already offering a service beyond the spa, Acuña explained that they are Meliá, Eden Rock Cap Cana, Excellence, Bahía Principe, among others.
He stated that for hotels to offer the different wellness services, training is fundamental, which is why he is working on training therapists to respond to the demand.
“There are several hotel chains that are turning to wellness and are offering different types of retreats and wellness treatments. In other words, all these hotel chains will soon be working 100% with this segment because it is the new global wellness trend, because they are changing conventional spa treatments for wellness treatments, more on the holistic side,” he said.
Health and wellness tourism
The wellness professional said that tourism institutions have done an excellent job in the sector and recovery.
He considered that in the health and wellness part, I know is very involved from the central government and public-private institutions, and Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, president of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS) has the country very well positioned.
He indicated that in the area of wellness tourism they continue to work on achieving a better positioning, so he recommended to continue working on the preparation of personnel who are dedicated to guide and stimulate wellness from the inside out and thus obtain certifications and qualifications, both a lodging establishment as well as the country.
“I think the DR has everything to be one of the most important countries in the world as a wellness destination,” he emphasized.
Relevant details of the congress
The International Wellness Spa Congress will last three days, the last of which will be for post-congress training workshops.
There will be more than 500 international attendees, 300 local attendees and the participation of delegates from the American Spa Association (AAS), Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Spain, Italy and Japan, among other countries.
Topics to be discussed
Wellness tourism, wellness business strategy, customer service, spa administration, management tools for the wellness sector, sales and marketing in hospitality, trends that will mark the wellness decade, wellness treatments, standards and protocols for luxury spas, development of a unique and different spa and medical spa.
Jean-Guy De Gabriac (Spain), Eduardo Finci (Argentina), Sara Jones (England), Jorge Rodriguez (Uruguay) Flavio Acuña (Uruguay), Lucia Romero De Avila Nieto (Spain), Phiane Duquet (Canada), Alejandro Cambiaso (Dominican Republic), Cristina Muqinche (Ecuador), Grabiela Gergic (Argentina), Mayra Beas Cuevas (Peru), Maricarmen Pavón (Mexico) and D`Jhanny de la Cruz (Dominican Republic).
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