Breathing new life into mineral baths
Rockfort Mineral Bath

Dear Editor,

As a child, our family did regular outings on Sundays. Day trips to beaches, mineral springs, such as Rockfort Mineral Bath and Milk River Bath, were very normal. These were great options for leisure.

I've read commentary from Dr Carolyn Cooper on beach access for Jamaicans and also on mineral baths. Recently, I watched Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna in Parliament debate the issue of wellness tourism and its potential, which I found riveting and intellectual. Hanna has also written about these topics, stressing the need to ensure that Jamaicans maintain ownership of these gems and that they are not simply divested to foreigners as we've done with so many other properties and well-known brands.

I fully agree that we must change the strategy in tourism and start looking at other ways to earn to ensure that we retain a greater share of profits from the industry to benefit Jamaicans. I think mineral baths are not prioritised simply because not much is known about them and their potential for tourism in the global context.

A few years ago I visited Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and took a day trip to the Dead Sea, which is one of the worlds most-visited wellness sites. The sea has the highest salt and mineral content in the world, it is so strong that it is not recommended to stay longer than 15 minutes in the sea at a time, in-between reasonable breaks. The mud is also ultra rich in minerals and people travel all over the world just to soak in the mud, which helps to heal and revitalise the skin and detoxify the body. Close to a million tourists visit the Dead Sea annually and there are a variety of shops, cafes, etc catering to tourists. The Dead Sea is located on the lowest point of the Earth and I definitely noticed a surge in energy levels which lasted for a long time after the visit, attributed to the full body detoxification of the mud bath. Dead Sea minerals are also used in many high-end cosmetics. Indeed, some of the top attractions in countries like Iceland are mineral springs!

In Jamaica tourists visit the island for beach, sun, and sand, and our food, music, and culture. I believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand into wellness. I support the calls to enhance properties like Milk River Bath and Rockfort Mineral and some of the other springs around the island. They can be marketed to attract more visitors. The springs in Jamaica are known for their minerals and high radioactive and healing properties, some have historical significance. We have springs that have been operating from the 17th and 18th centuries. There are ruins of an old fort at the Rockfort Mineral Bath site. Bath Fountain Hotel & Spa (St Thomas) and Milk River Hotel & Mineral Spa (Clarendon) are controlled by the Ministry of Tourism and are about to be divested. I don't believe any new operator can survive without the full backing of the tourism ministry and global marketing. Properties also need a facelift to improve attractiveness. Organised tours from traditional north coast resorts can boost business along with special packages for locals. In my view, they are hidden gems.

Any due diligence for divestment must include a study on the potential of these sites for tourism. Is it better to operate privately? Perhaps all baths should be operated by Jamaica National Heritage Trust and officially branded as heritage sites. We must keep an open mind and broaden our outlook and vision; we must move away from the strategy of divesting everything to the highest foreign bidder, which is not benefiting us as a country.

P Chin

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?