The concept of wellness tourism dramatically broadens the appeal of medical tourism, which is associated with plastic surgery, but also means dentistry, knee replacements, and other medical procedures, says SpaFinder.
Wellness tourism is increasing as governments, insurance companies, medical establishments, AND consumers wrangle with the skyrocketing costs of health-care. Individuals also feel the the need to take greater responsibility for their own health.
"The focus of wellness tourism is squarely on prevention and helping people make lifestyle changes," says SpaFinder. "The opportunities are immense, as governments all over the world begin to look at this arena as a way to attract tourism dollars as well as lower health care costs."
Examples include stem-cell banking at a facility like Medical City Hospital l in the Philippines, to executive physicals at a Lanserhof in Austria or at Kurotel in Brazil. Traveling across borders to destination spas such as Champney’s in the UK, Rancho La Puerta in Mexico or Chiva-Som in Thailand for a life/health turnaround are firmly established examples of wellness tourism.
Many global consumers opt for these journeys because another country offers significantly lower costs or greater procedure/treatment availability. But the upswing is also part of a wider trend toward “mindful,” not “mindless,” travel.
"Given the economic and moral climate, people are increasingly embracing travel with a higher benefit to either themselves (and their bodies) or others, whether that’s wellness tourism or “voluntourism” (travel with a philanthropic component), environmentally aware (eco) travel, or educationally or culturally immersive travel," concludes SpaFinder.