The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), together with the European Travel Commission (ETC) launched a new report on health tourism. Part of their joint research programme, the study is the first attempt to set a coherent conceptualisation of health tourism and define the motivations behind travellers looking for health-related services.
Health, wellness and medical tourism have grown exponentially in recent years to become increasingly relevant in many destinations. Health tourism is an emerging, global, complex and rapidly changing segment that needs to be better understood by destinations willing to leverage opportunities and better address challenges.
‘Exploring Health Tourism’ proposes a comprehensive taxonomy with a consistent terminology to define and describe the intricate system of travelling for health purposes and provides a practical toolkit for National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) wanting to develop health tourism.
As defined in the report, health tourism covers those types of tourism which have as a primary motivation the contribution to physical, mental and/or spiritual health through medical and wellness-based activities.
The report sheds light on the factors shaping health tourism such as technological developments, personal health, data protection and urbanisation. It also explores the market, the demand and the supply of health tourism and provides examples of marketing management. Finally, the study proposes a set of recommendations ranging from improved data collection and more accurate measurement to more accessible and sustainable health tourism calling for further partnerships.