Melanie Smith (Visiting Lecturer)
Melanie Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Tourism Management from the
University of Greenwich in London, UK. She has written two academic
articles on Wellness Tourism: Smith, M. K. (2003) „Holistic Holidays: Tourism
and the Reconciliation of Body, Mind, Spirit‟, Journal of Tourism Recreation
Research, Vol. 28, No. 1. & Smith, M. K. & Kelly, C. (2004) Stop the World – I want to get off! Is Holistic Tourism becoming the Ultimate Route to Escapism?
Tourism: The State of the Art II, Glasgow, June. She is also currently co-
editing a special edition of the journal Tourism Recreation Research on Wellness Tourism, as well as undertaking a large research project on holistic
Introduction and Rationale:
This course focuses on the development and management of health and
wellness tourism, an important contemporary growth sector. Not only are
many people increasingly concerned about their physical, social and
psychological wellbeing in their everyday lives, but they are also prepared to
travel long distances to experience different forms of wellness tourism. This
ranges from the immersion of the body in the healing waters of a spa to the
quest for spiritual enlightenment in an ashram, or even cosmetic
enhancement through surgical treatments or beauty therapies. This course
will examine the range of motivations that drive this diverse sector of tourists, the products that are being developed to meet their needs, and the
management implications of these developments.
1) To understand the nature and scope of the wellness tourism product
2) To analyse the motivations and profiles of wellness tourists
3) To evaluate marketing and promotional strategies in wellness tourism
4) To assess the management of wellness tourism centres
On completion of this course the students will be able to:
1) Define wellness tourism
2) Appreciate the diversity of wellness tourism products
3) Understand the nature of demand for wellness tourism
4) Know how to manage and market a wellness tourism centre
1) Definitions of health and wellness tourism and product development
2) Motivations and profiles of health and wellness tourists
3) Geography of health and wellness tourism: national and regional
4) Marketing health and wellness tourism
5) Managing health and wellness facilities (e.g. spas, hotels, retreat centres)
6) Spa tourism
7) Holistic tourism
8) Spiritual tourism
9) Medical tourism
10) Yoga tourism
11) Regional health and wellness tourism: Central and Eastern Europe
12) Guest speaker: Health and wellness tourism in Hungary
Main Learning and Teaching Activities:
Lectures and seminars will constitute the principal mode of teaching for this
course. Lectures will serve to introduce theories and concepts, and seminars will
be used to consolidate knowledge through discussion and debate. Students will
be introduced to a variety of examples from a range of countries.
Method of Length Weighting Outline Details
Individual 2,500 – 100% Students will be given a fictional case study report 3,000 of a proposed new wellness centre in
words Hungary. They will be asked to produce a
development strategy for the centre.
Deadline : Tuesday 20th December 2005
Assessment Case Study:
‘Fantazia’: A Proposed New Spa Development Project
Imagine that you are a wellness tourism consultant. You have been asked to
write a development strategy for a proposed new wellness centre in the west of
Hungary. You should prepare a report detailing your recommendations for the
centre’s development. The project should be presented in two parts:
a) a 15 minute presentation of your main recommendations during
Week 7 of the course
b) a complete report of 2,500-3,000 words to be handed in on thTuesday 20 December
The centre at present has the following characteristics:
? It is located in a small village close to Gyor near the Austrian and
Slovakian borders, only 1 hour from Bratislava and 1.5 hours from
Vienna. Budaest is 2 hours away.
? The centre is newly built and has three wellness pools of different
temperatures, one of which is a mineral spa.
? The centre also has a dentistry centre, two massage rooms and one
beauty treatment room. There is also a large auditorium which could hold
up to 80 people.
? The centre is sited in a small park with access to a wood and a river.
There is one main cycling path.The village has few attractions – only one
church, the remains of a castle, two pansios and several small shops.
? The centre owners have already built several holiday apartments, which
they hope to sell. They are wondering how many more they should build.
? The owners are unsure about the current name of the centre and their
promotional materials are limited. At present, they have one leaflet in
Hungarian and German but no website.
The owners of the centre therefore require advice on the following:
? Overall management of the centre
? Potential expansion of the centre
? Product development
? Increasing demand
? Marketing and promotion
? Possible funding sources
Criteria Excellent Very Good Satisfactory Poor Absent
Audit of the
issues to be
(Please note that this is a relatively new subject area. As a consequence,
there are fewer books and articles than for other subjects – please also refer to the materials supplied by the tutor)
Douglas, N. et al. (2001) Special Interest Tourism: context and cases,
Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Novelli, M. (ed.) (2004) Niche Tourism: Contemporary Issues, Trends and
Cases, London: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Garcia-Altes, M. (2005) „The Development of Health Tourism Services‟,
Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 262-266.
KPMG Consulting (2002) The Marketing Concept of Health Tourism in
Hungary, Budapest: Hungarian National Tourism Office.
Monteson, P. A. & Singer, J. (2004) „Marketing a resort-based spa‟, Journal of
Vacation Marketing, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 282-287.
Puczko, L., Bacharov, M. & Eory, E. (2005) „Spa, Bath, Therme: What‟s
Behind the Labels?‟, Journal of Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 31, No. 1.
Smith, M. K. (2003) „Holistic Holidays: Tourism and the Reconciliation of Body, Mind, Spirit‟, Journal of Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 28, No. 1.
Smith, M. K. & Kelly, C. (2005) „Holistic Tourism: Journeys of the Self?‟,
Journal of Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 31 , No. 1.
http://www.furdoszovetseg.hu/en (Spas in Hungary)
http://www.hungary.com/resources/piackut/belf/egtur_02v.pdf (Spa Marketing in Hungary)
http://www.european-spa-world.com/1079_EN.0 (European Spa World Project)
http://www.medicaltourism.com (Medical Tourism)
http://www.bcma.co.uk (The British Complementary Medicine Association)
http://www.i-c-m.org.uk (Institute for Complementary Medicine)
http://www.bwy.org.uk (The British Wheel of Yoga)
http://www.skyros.co.uk (Holistic Centre)
http://www.cortijo-romero.co.uk (Holistic Centre)
Lecture 1: Special interest tourism and the growth of wellness tourism Seminar 1: Course overview
Students will also be asked to think about their own relationship to wellness in terms of:
? Physical needs
? Psychological needs
? Spiritual needs
? Creative needs
Lecture 2: Definitions of health and wellness tourism: product development
Seminar 2: Wellness tourism in Hungary
Students should prepare a brief list of Hungary’s wellness tourism products and attractions. We will analyse:
? Hungary’s wellness tourism offer
? The quality of Hungary’s spas and wellness products
? The nature of demand for Hungary’s wellness tourism
? The marketing of wellness tourism in Hungary
PLEASE REFER TO THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE FOR DETAILS OF HUNGARY‟S
Lecture 1: Demand for wellness tourism: motivations and profiles of wellness tourists
Seminar 1: Role play activitiy
Students will be allocated one of the following products:
? Spa tourism in Eastern Europe
? Medical tourism in India
? Yoga tourism in Spain
? Spiritual tourism in Thailand
? Beauty spa tourism in the Caribbean
For their given product, they should discuss the following:
Typical Likely tourist Draft of a holiday Marketing attractions and profiles and package or activities and activities linked to motivations programme channels the given product
Lecture 2: Marketing wellness tourism
Seminar 2: Content analysis: wellness tourism brochures
Students will be given a range of wellness tourism brochures, and they will be asked to
comment on the following:
? Presentation of given wellness product
? Special attractions and activities
? Packaging of product
? Promotion of product
? Pricing of product
Lecture 1: Wellness tourism in Central and Eastern Europe Seminar 1: Discussion about definitional and marketing issues
Lecture 2: Spa tourism in Hungary Seminar 2: Case studies
Students should read the following paper in preparation for this class:
Spa, Bath, Thermae: What’s Behind the Labels?
LÁSZLÓ PUCZKÓ, MARIN BACHVAROV, EDIT EÖRY
(forthcoming in special edition of Tourism Recreation Research,
on Wellness Tourism, 2006 edited by M. K. Smith & C. Kelly)
More and more people are using health related services and not only those who go
to see their GP. Many of those health services, except medical services, are labelled
as wellness, fitness or more recently holistic ones. People, especially from western
societies are looking for health type services and locations during their holiday, too.
They can find many spas, baths, thermae, health or healing resorts in various
destinations. Health consciousness has become one of the main social trends in
many countries, and the more unusual the given health or spa service (and its name)
the more popular, the range and variety of such services. One can wonder, however,
if these health as well as often tourism service providers and their services are really
different or just the label they use differs somewhat. Data show that various forms of health tourism have played an increasingly important
role in tourism globally in recent years, and this trend is also likely to dominate the
supply of tourism in many Central and Eastern European countries in the near 1future. Owing to the rich abundance of natural healing assets, such as water,
climate, caves or mud, and to relatively moderate price levels, which are recognized
as a competitive advantage internationally, CEE countries have become the most
important participants in the international market of health tourism.
Background to health tourism
Health as motivation to travel has always been popular since Ancient times until
nowadays; just thinking about the Roman thermae, the Turkish baths, the French
coastal or mountain resorts, the Japanese onsens or the Alpine healing resorts. This
fact is widely accepted by professionals and researchers (e.g. Bacon 1998,
Henderson 2003), however, there have always been more popular forms of health
services that received special attention. The quite varied motivations of visitors using
these services get reflected in the supply, too, e.g. some use these services for
relaxation (e.g. in tropical spa resorts of the Caribbean), some as a form of stress
release (e.g. a rejuvenation week in an Austrian wellness hotel), while some for
curing well definable illnesses (e.g. in medical hotels or hospitals of Hungary).
In the tourism sector where consumers fundamentally purchase experiences, it is
inevitable that not only tour operators but guests will also define (or label) the type of
trip they are purchasing. There are therefore many definitions of health tourism and
of spas. This also allows operators to capture guests with fundamentally mutual 2motivations too, and to classify such tourists as medical or wellness or holistic
guests depending on their opinion about themselves. The intermediate position which
leaves many visitors between these groups indicates how important it is to know the
characteristics and expectations of the consumer before attempting to formulate
definitions and to set up service lines and/or communication messages.
Medical (or therapeutic) tourism involves using the services available at a site for
providing therapy, or staying at a medical resort where the minimum length of stay is
normally defined typically for the purpose of curing certain diseases. The main focus
of therapeutic services, which are typically based on a natural curative factor (e.g.
medicinal water, medical cave, micro climate, medicinal mud), is therapy, which is
only complemented by tourist services and attractions. In this case, theoretically,
1 KPMG Consulting (2002): The Health Tourism Marketing Concept, Hungarian National Tourist
Office, Budapest 2 „Holistic health = high level wellness” (http://www.holisticeducator.com/wellness.htm)
treatments are the stimulus for potential visitors. Medical tourism typically, although
non-exclusively involves the receipt of specific services prescribed by a specialist
who can be either a resident specialist to the destination or can prescribe the
necessary treatments at the visitors‟ place of residence. In these cases medical
visitors are considered to be patients rather than tourists. All that said, however, it is not impossible to find therapeutic facilities operated
without the presence of any natural curative element. Those therapies can be based
on processes and activities, and partially on some other resources, such as thermal, i.e. hot, but not medical waters. Interestingly enough, while in CEE medical spas form
the base for health tourism, in North America medical spas are seen as new arrivals. As Brown (2002)observed “…spa and medicine viewed as complimentary and inclusive, is indeed the current trend. Spas again grow and now add doctors to their 3staff while hospitals and clinics add alternative therapies to their facilities”.
45Wellness is an artificially created term from well-being and wholeness and the term was coined in the USA (in 1959) and has a brief history in Europe. Wellness is
supposed to create harmony in (mental, physical, spiritual or biological) health in
general; and has stronger ties with changing lifestyle or doing something healthy than with curing a specific disease. People consuming wellness services tend to show
higher health-awareness than others. They want to stay healthy or, want to be
healthier or want to prevent diseases through lifestyle, healthy nourishment and regular physical exercise. (Proving that wellness basically represents a certain
lifestyle, interestingly, almost all USA universities of colleges have a wellness guide 6for their staff and students.) Wellness addresses human health in a holistic or
3 Brown, M.T. (2002): Spa and Medicine, Mindful o the past, movement of the future, Spa Management, Feb, f http://www.spamanagement.com/Les%20cadres/medi/introduction.html
4 Well-being is the state of having arrived at the full development of reason: reason not in the sense of a merely intellectual judgment, but in that „
of grasping truth by "letting things be" (to use Heidegger's term) as they are.” Fromm, E.: The nature of well-being, http://www.feelingwhole.com/wellness.htm
5 KPMG Consulting (2002): The Health Tourism Marketing Concept, Hungarian National Tourist Office, Budapest
6Seven Dimensions of Wellness (http://www.accd.edu/sac/wellness/wellpage.htm) Social Wellness: is the process of creating and maintaining healthy relationships through the choices we make.This also refers to our ability to relate ? well to others, both within and outside of the family unit.
Physical Wellness: signifies the process of making choices to create flexible, cardiovascularly fit, energetic, and strong bodies The choices we make are ? related to exercise, nutrition, rest and sleep, intentional and responsible sexual choices, stress management, management of injuries and illness, and the
responsible use of alcohol and other drugs.
Emotional Wellness: is the ability to understand your own feelings, accept your limitations, and achieve emotional stability. ? Intellectual Wellness: is the process of using our minds to create a greater understanding and appreciation of the universe and ourselves. Intellectual ? wellness is not dependent on intelligence or ability; rather it requires making connections, appreciating natural connections, examining one's opinions
and judgements, and questioning authority.
Environmental Wellness: is the process of making choices which will contribute to sustaining or improving the quality of life in the universe. This ? dimension includes responsible choices regarding the use of air, water, land, and energy so that future generations of each species may survive and
thrive. The recognition of interdependence of humans, other animals, plants and all of nature is a central tenet of environmental wellness.
Spiritual Wellness: is the process of discovering meaning and purpose in life, and demonstrating values through behaviours. Spiritual wellness includes ? acceptance of the concepts of wholeness, unity, diversity, individual uniqueness, and the need for community as well as personal responsibility to
oneself and that community.
Occupational Wellness: is the process of making and maintaining choices related to work which include choosing a job for which you are well suited, ? well-trained, and from which you gain satisfaction. It includes staying current in one's chosen field, helping to create a healthy organizational
environment which contributes to your own and others' well-being. Career wellness also requires balancing work with the rest of your life.