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The internationalization process of Wellness Tourism

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2007 41 Pages

Business economics - Offline Marketing and Online Marketing

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABBREVATIONS

INTRODUCTION

1 OVERVIEW: BASIC DEFINITIONS
1.1 THE WELLNESS CONCEPT
1.2 THE CONCEPT OF WELLNESS TOURISM
1.3 TYPOLOGY OF SPA & WELLNESS INSTALLATIONS

2 INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS
2.1 WELLNESS AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES
2.2 SOME FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE GROWTH OF WELLNESS
TOURISM
2.3 DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS TOURISM
2.4 THE INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION OF SPA

3 GRADE OF INTERNATIONALIZATION OF WELLNESS TOURISM
3.1 PRINCIPAL SENDING COUNTRIES
3.2 PRINCIPAL RECEIVING COUNTRIES
3.3 BRAND PHILOSOPHIES OF WELLNESS HOTELS AND INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OF SPA AND WELLNESS

4 TRENDS OF WELLNESS TOURISM AND MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS INFLUENCING THE DEMAND
4.1 TRENDS OF WELLNESS TOURISM (DEMAND)
4.2 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR THE WELLNESS TOURISTS
4.3 TRENDS OF WELLNESS TOURISM (OFFER)

CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

APPENDIX

ABBREVATIONS

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INTRODUCTION

During the last decades wellness tourism has been booming worldwide. Stimulated by an in­creased interest in health and fitness as well as the need to escape from work-related stress, “spa-going” is now one of the most sophisticated and exciting ways of making holidays in the 21st century.

Responding to the increasing demand for wellness, the tourism industry had to adapt its holi­day offers and hotel facilities by creating spa or wellness centres within the hotels and resorts – spa or wellness centres which opened in the cities recently are not entering the field of well­ness tourism and therefore are not recognized in this report.

In this report the identification of wellness tourism, its development and its trends are the mat­ter of interest. After the definition of wellness tourism we will delimit its components and some concepts in close relation.

In a second step we will explain the international development of wellness tourism which means the underlying mentality changes and its reasons, the history and development of well­ness tourism and the international expansion of spa.

The internationalization grade of wellness tourism will be worked out in the third part by giv­ing information about the most important sending and receiving countries, brand philosophies of wellness hotels and international associations of spa and wellness.

In the last part of the report we will describe trends of wellness tourism related to the overall demand and offer as well as the most significant motives of the wellness tourist choosing a tourist destination.

1 OVERVIEW: BASIC DEFINITIONS

To understand the following report it is inalienable to define the concept of wellness, wellness tourism and other related concepts of the tourism health field.

1.1 THE WELLNESS CONCEPT

The following definitions help us to differentiate between the concepts and meaning of health and wellness. A definition of health gets necessary as it turns out that it has a direct relation to the concept of wellness.

- Health

There are three ways to define health: The common definition, the World Health Organisati-on’s (WHO) definition and a definition in the medical field.

Common definition: Health is the functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an organism, at any moment in time, at both the cellular and global levels. All individual organisms, from the simplest to the most complex, vary between optimum health and zero health (dead) (Wikipe-dia, 2006).

The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In more recent years, this statement has been modified to include the ability to lead a socially and economically productive life (Smith and Kelly, 2002).

In the medical field health is defined as an organism’s ability to efficiently respond to chal­lenges (stressors) and effectively restore and sustain a state of balance, known as homeostasis (Wikipedia, 2006).

More recently, contemporary definitions for health have been enhanced by the concept of wellness and the values and principles that have evolved from it.

· Wellness

The word wellness was primarily used by Sir A. Johnson as ...wealnesse “in the Oxford Eng­lish Dictionary (Wikipedia, 2006).

Mueller and Kaufmann (2000) explain that in 1959, the American social medic Halbert L. Dunn redefined the word wellness. Later in the 70´s – when costs of the American health sys­tem exploded – Donald B. Ardell and John Travis developed by order of the American gov­ernment new health system in order to prevent illness.

In Smith and Kelly’s article (2006), wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind-body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of wellbeing. This is a way of life oriented toward optimal health and wellbeing in which the body, mind and spirit are inte­grated by the individual to live more fully within the human and natural community.

1.2 THE CONCEPT OF WELLNESS TOURISM

Health tourism is very different to wellness tourism. Wellness tourism is a special product within health tourism segment and is therefore regarded as a sub category of health tourism (Verschuren, 2004) and not as a category itself.

· Health tourism

According to Garcia-Altes (2005) health tourism could be broadly defined as people travel­ling from their place of residence for health reasons. Health tourism is seized by guests with various medical conditions who would travel to experience therapies that will help to make them well or to improve their health. Wellness tourism by contrast refers to healthy guests who seek therapies to maintain their wellbeing.

- Wellness tourism

Mueller and Kaufmann (2000) have defined wellness tourism as the sum of all the relation­ships and phenomena resulting from a journey and residence by people whose main motive is to preserve or promote their health. They stay in a specialized hotel which provides the ap­propriate professional know-how and individual care. Furthermore they require a comprehen­sive service package including physical fitness (physical exercises)/beauty care, healthy nutri-tion/diet, relaxation/meditation and mental activity/education.

- Wellness facilities and services by hotels groups

A facility is a feature that a hotel has for the enjoyment of its guests. Wellness facilities espe­cially include equipment like sauna, solarium, sport/fitness, steam bath, swimming pool, whirlpool and medical centres.

A service is something that hotel staff conducts with the visitors to make their stay more en­joyable. Wellness services are characterized by a healthy nutrition, massage, manicure, super­vised sport, culture, relaxation, health know-how, medical supervision, staff availability, indi­vidual care and advice, health tips for back home, information and explanation and so forth.

The wide variety of health and wellness definitions being used in the wellness tourism indus­try can be illustrated in the following with a review of spa and wellness categories.

1.3 TYPOLOGY OF SPA & WELLNESS INSTALLATIONS

Some say the origin of the word “spa” comes from the Belgian town of Spa, known since Roman times for its baths. But the word spa actually originates from the Latin verb spagere which means “to pour forth”. Others speculate it may be an acronym for the Latin phrase “sanitas per aquas” which can be translated as “health through water”.

Spa means an “entity devoted to enhancing overall wellbeing through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit” (Wikipedia, 2006). So wellness and spa are very similar concepts and could be used analogically one for the other.

Spa centres – also called wellness centres – are centres whose philosophy is based on treat­ments that produce wellbeing, relaxation, and balance of body and spirit as well as treatments that improve physical appearance or aesthetic aspects. The spa/wellness concept bases its phi­losophy on the perfect service and the personalized attention towards the guests (Silvia Collell, 2005).

Spa/wellness facilities appear within several different categories. The International Spa Asso­ciation (ISPA) has defined seven spa facility types capable of delivering health and wellness programmes. These types of spa differ in terms of location and surroundings, structure, equipment they dispose and services they offer (Silvia Collell, 2005). The different categories are outlined by the following:

The Day Spa offers a variety of professional spa services to guests on a day-use basis. Day Spa visits offer a simple, flexible way to incorporate spa into people’s everyday life.

The Destination Spa is a “facility with the primary purpose of guiding individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits”. Historically a seven-day stay, this lifestyle transformation can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive program (All-inclusive programs) that contains spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthy cuisine and special inter­est programs.

A Medical Spa is “a destination or day spa that operates under the full-time, on-site supervi­sion of a licensed health care professional whose primary purpose is to provide comprehen­sive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services, as well as tradi­tional, complimentary and/or alternative therapies and treatments”.

A Club Spa is a facility whose primary purpose is fitness and which offers a variety of profes­sionally administered spa services on a day-use basis.

A Cruise Ship Spa is a spa aboard a cruise ship providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices.

The Mineral Springs Spa offers an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater which is used in professionally administered hydrotherapy treatments.

The Resort/Hotel Spa is a spa owned by and located within a resort or hotel providing profes­sionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices. Large resort spas have a wide range of activities, including golf, swimming, tennis, and sometimes water sports, horseback riding and skiing.

In favour of a better understanding of the categories it is interesting to see the differences be­tween the possible kinds of water treatments that are offered in spa or wellness centres:

- Balneotherapy

The treatments of balneotherapy are based on the use of natural mineral waters. Balneother-apy involves the treatment of disease by bathing (prevention, care and wellbeing treatments). It may involve hot or cold water, massages via moving water, relaxation or stimulation (Lo­pez Y., 2005).

- Thalassotherapy

All thalassotherapy treatments are realized by using the benefits of the marine water and the related elements (seaweed wrap, mud etc.). Most of the spa or wellness centres using thalasso-therapy are located in coastal areas and predominantly on beaches (Lopez Y., 2005).

Now that the different definitions have been given, we are going to emphasize the interna­tional development of wellness and wellness tourism.

2 INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS

This part will deduce the development of wellness by its basic causes, the development of wellness tourism and the expansion of spas.

2.1 WELLNESS AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES

The aim to keep a healthy balance between mind, body and spirit that generates the overall feeling of wellbeing (=wellness) has been intended by people for centuries. During the last decades wellness has increased and its purpose changed: Nowadays it is not a simple hobby to practice in leisure time anymore; it has rather become consumer behaviour. According to the sociologists, the trend to wellness is based on life necessities and on an orientation of values (Focus, 2002).

Wellness is not just a short-time fashion but is a new lifestyle that leads to a certain change in people’s behaviour. In fact, nowadays wellness consumers are seeking for a new lifestyle and wish to change their way of life. Wellness is being practiced because there is a need to look and feel better, to lose weight, to delay the effect of aging, to relieve pain or discomfort, to manage stress and to improve health (Tourism Product Development Co. Ltd., 2005). The main goal can be summarized as body and mental fitness.

The number of products or services related to wellness denotes a continuous growth. The sec­tors positively affected by the trend are tourism, food, clothes, body care and can be appraised as the fundamental markets of the 21st century (Focus, 2002).

2.2 SOME FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE GROWTH OF WELLNESS TOURISM

Actual trends in wellness, the globalization of economies and the ongoing political integration are creating a positive development of the tourism sector (Sectur, 2004). This plays an impor­tant role for the extensive growth of wellness tourism activities. As factors of this exponential growth the following points could be mentioned:

- the stability of the social relations in western countries is disturbed, (Smith and Kelly, 2002)

- traditional religions are on a breakdown and communities get more and more frag­mented

- the progress in science and medicine has led to a better preservation of the body (fewer diseases...) changes in values and interests of the population can be stated (Sectur, 2004)

- lifestyle changes: increase in demand for cosmetic surgery, spas, retirement communi­ties, fitness centres and addition treatments (Garcia-Altes, 2005)

- “ageing” demographics with a growing expectancy of life. Elder people are imitating young people’s behaviours and are becoming more and more active in their leisure time and holidays

- the baby boomer generation approaches the age of their highest disposable income and their highest propensity to travel. They may be less price-conscious and also more sen­sitive to other aspects like location, destinations, confidentiality, quality etc. (Smith and Kelly, 2002)

- demand for quality, convenience, security, ease and luxury from the eldest part of the population is increasing

- women initiate the wellness fashion (Focus, 2002). The necessity of the body balance and harmony is more present by women than by men

- changes in modern societies: pressure and stress are increasing and have generated a need of and a desire for effective relaxation. There is less time available for rest and regeneration. Leisure time and relaxation are getting more and more important.

- social contacts diminish by reason of an increase of single households (BMWA, 2002)

- the health consciousness is increasing: the way to feel better and to avoid or prevent depression is becoming commonly (Smith and Kelly, 2002)

- travelling becomes an important life style option. Consumers are well-travelled and look for something new and different in their holiday experience (Greethman, Mattinson, Bibber, Verschuren, 2005)

The stated points are multifaceted and have a major influence on the upswing of today’s well­ness tourism.

2.3 DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS TOURISM

Wellness tourism is one of the most ancient forms of tourism considering “the scrupulous attention paid to wellbeing by Romans and Greeks, the quests for spiritual enlightenment of mediaeval pilgrims” or the medical seaside and spa tourism of European elite in the 18th and 19th centuries (Smith and Kelly 2002).

However there has been intensification in the pursuit of wellness in the history of tourism in recent years: The proliferation of wellness centres/spas, complementary and alternative thera­pies is exceptional. As the consumer demand is increasing wellness programs are trying to respond by proposing healthy lifestyle education, fitness level improvement, nutrition coun­selling, preventive medicine, alternative or eastern medicinal practices and therapies and by solving personal problems like stress or depression (Greethman, Mattinson, Bibber, Ver-schuren, 2005).

2.4 THE INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION OF SPA

With more and more people looking to spas for health, wellness, anti-aging and relaxation reasons, “spa-going” has been described as a new cultural trend. During the past decade spas have become an increasingly relevant cultural force – Spa culture – influencing not only how people manage their health, appearance and stress, but also how they shop, socialise, spiritual-ise, eat, travel and work.

But, in fact, the modern spa is descended from the ancient practice of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters. “Spa-going” has been practiced for thousands of years from the Mesopo-tamians, Egyptians and Minoans, to the Greeks and Romans, and later, the Ottomans, Japa­nese and Western Europeans (Spafinder, 2006).

Having originated from this time, the culture of spa developed in different ways throughout Europe, from the use of mineral water (balneotherapy), to the use of sea water and marine substances (thalassotherapy) and a wide range of body and other therapies.

In the 19th century, Europe’s great spas were destinations for the wealthy (reserved for the upper-middle class), who went there to “take the waters.” Water treatments are still consid­ered the heart of the spa experience in Europe (About, Inc., 2006).

The tradition of spa changed in the concept of wellbeing and fitness- today better known as “wellness” (Basteiro, 2005). Nowadays we associate with spas or wellness relaxation, beauty, healthy diet and the variety of new trends related to the quality of life. The basic element re­mains water and beyond that developed other activities like gyms, fitness and massages.

According to Smith and Kelly (2002), the notion of spas for the mass tourism market didn’t take off until the late 1980’s. Moreover it was not until 1991 that the ISPA was created. Since that time, the number of spas has grown exponentially (Greethman, Mattinson, Bibber, Ver-schuren, 2005).

After having emphasized on the development of wellness and wellness tourism, in the next part the grade of internationalization of wellness tourism will be treated.

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Details

Pages
41
Year
2007
ISBN (eBook)
9783640380510
ISBN (Book)
9783640380282
File size
638 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v130160
Institution / College
University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Grade
1
Tags
Wellness Tourism

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Title: The internationalization process of Wellness Tourism