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Report Gives Tourism Destinations a More Accurate Picture of Health Tourism

The new report provides a practical toolkit for NTOs and DMOs wanting to develop health tourism

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, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Released on Thursday, the “Exploring Health Tourism Report” was launched by the UNWTO and the European Travel Commission (ETC).

Part of their joint research program, the study is the first attempt to set a coherent conceptualization of health tourism and define the motivations behind travelers looking for health-related services.

“Health, wellness and medical tourism have grown exponentially in recent years to become increasingly relevant in many destinations,” the UNWTO said.

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 which increase the capacity of individuals to satisfy their own needs and function better as individuals in their environment and society. Health tourism is the umbrella term for the subtypes: wellness tourism and medical tourism.

The report proposes a comprehensive taxonomy with a consistent terminology to define and describe the intricate system of traveling for health purposes and provides a practical toolkit for National Tourism Organizations (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 urbanization. It also explores the market, the demand and the supply of health tourism and provides examples of marketing management.

Moreover, 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.

To read the report, press here.

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