Bureau of Standards Jamaica and Tourism Product Development Company collaborate to stage Spa Standardization Forum

Kingston, Jamaica – The Bureau of Standards recently held its Spa Standard Standardization Forum in collaboration with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) on September 27, 2012 at the Bureau’s office in Kingston.

The occasion brought together industry stakeholders and the Spa Standard Steering Committee representative(s) to review the completed spa standards and to present suggestions and ask questions. Copies of the standard is available for J$2,800.00 at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica office.

Rose-Marie Headley-Smith, Chairperson, of the Spa Standards Steering Committee, presented the topic “Jamaican Standard Specification for Spa Entities” to a wide spectrum of industry persons in attendance. Mrs Headley-Smith began by defining the word Spa. She gave three definitions, one of which was representative of International Spa Association (ispa) namely: “ISPA defines spa as places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit. “

Headley-Smith offered the objectives of the initiative, which are:

• Standardize Jamaica’s spa operations in order to make it a destination of choice for health and spa tourism

• Protect the environment within which health and wellness entities operate

• Stimulate growth in this area of the sector

• Encourage superior customer service and
• Provide reference tool for the industry

The report outlined the minimum requirements for operating spa facilities and the provision of spa related services. The excluded elements were prominently stated and excluded the decisions that relate directly to: the medical profession, the development of medical products and activities that relate directly to sexual services.

The next presenter was Sheryll Lewis a founding member of the Spa Standards Steering Committee and a License Processing Manager for TPDCo; she presented her report on High Angle Attractions (Bungee jumping, and aerial type of activities).

At the end of both presentations, question and answers were entertained. A lively discussion followed. Spa Questionnaires were distributed to stimulate further dialogue between the sector, the Standards Bureau and the TPDCo Spa Steering Committee.

A member of the audience called for a sensitization workshop to outline the manner in which the standards were crafted and to allow for sector members to ask questions and give the suggestions. Mrs Headley Smith welcomed the suggestion and stated that the Spa Committee had debated the matter and sought funding, but it was unsuccessful due to severe budgetary constraints.
Sharon Parris-Chambers promised to explore Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funding.

Parris-Chambers a founding member and former V.P. of the Committee indicated that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had an interest in Health & Wellness development in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and had requested progress reports from her in 2006-2007 after delegates to its Conference returned to their destinations in Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. In fact, she said the idea to develop spa standards in Jamaica was stimulated by Mr Eric Light, a member of the Caribbean Resort & Day Spa Association, of which she was the Executive Director, while attending the IDB Health & Wellness Conference in Washington D.C. 2006.

When the initiative to begin the spa standards was brought to TPDCo during the 2006-2007 period, Headley-Smith embraced the idea immediately and intensified her efforts to audit the sector and collect data. She later formed the Committee with Deanne Keating-Campbell, Product Quality Director and other members from across multiple sectors.

Deanne Keating-Campbell in her presentation on the mandate of TPDCo noted that the last time she checked there were no other spa standards in the world; the same applies for High Angle attractions. That puts TPDCo, in a class by itself, as a government agency mandated to protect the country’s tourism product. Keating-Campbell stated that Costa Rica had been calling her and requesting standards for High Angle.

Theo Chambers, a founding member of the Committee, encouraged both organizations to ensure that the standards become accepted regionally through CROSQ, CARICOM’s standards body.

In conclusion, the overall message conveyed emphasized that standards overall add value to the tourism product, protect our citizens and travellers, whose safety and enjoyment of our great land is of utmost importance; provide guidance on business trends which can positively impact clientele, profits and operations; execution of the spa standards can put individual spas as well as Jamaica on par with international health and wellness standards and ;the application of the Spa Standard is a key step in exceeding the expectations of the customer, placing your business a measurable step ahead of the competition.

Composition of Spa Standards Steering Committee:

Mrs R Headley-Smith, Chairman, University of Technology, Jamaica

Mrs D Keating-Campbell, Vice-Chairman, Tourism Product Development Company Ltd.

Mr P Fuller, Consumer Affairs Commission

Mrs K Griffiths-Buchanan, Recording Secretary, Tourism Product Development Company Ltd.

Mrs A Hylton-Morris, Tourism Product Development Company Ltd.

Mrs N Jacobs-Gray, Northern Caribbean University

Ms J Lewis, Jackie’s on the Reef

Ms S Lewis, Technical Secretary, Tourism Product Development Company Ltd.

Mrs J McLeod , Yvonne Anthony School of Aesthetics

Ms C Morrison, Tourism Product Development Company Ltd.

Mrs S Parris-Chambers, Caribbean Resort & Day Spa Association (Now LatinCaribe Wellness Network)

Ms C Pink, Superclubs/Breezes Resorts /Breath
Mrs S Pink, Jamaica Tourist Board

Dr D Robertson, Caribbean Herbal Business Association

Mr L Smith, Ministry of Health

Ms D Sommerville, Milk River Hotel & Spa

Mrs T Vassell, Sandals Resorts International (SRI)

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