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Wellness Tourism

Traveling Beyond Borders For Health Care, Spa and Wellness Vacations

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Wellness Tourism

Wellness tourism includes trips to destination spas like Rancho La Puerta, as well as preventive health services and diagnostics.

Wellness tourism will be one of the big trends of 2010, according to SpaFinder’s Top 10 Global Spa Trends to Watch in 2010. Wellness tourism means traveling across borders for spa and wellness vacations, preventive health services, diagnostics, even DNA testing and stem-cell banking, according to SpaFinder, Inc. a global spa and wellness company based in New York City.

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.

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