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How local resources and market characteristics make all the difference

How local resources and market characteristics make all the difference September 17, 2021

Marketing, research and business development consultant in healthcare, human services and senior living.

One size does not fit all in wellness and medical travel.

This has been confirmed again from a recent study that looks at 39 countries and regions. The findings suggest that market opportunities are very much defined by the maturity of the local market as well as the availability of local resources and infrastructure.

Marketing of health tourism is often considered to be not much more than communication. Studies such as the Wellness Health & Travel 2030 provide the supporting evidence that marketing starts with product awareness and definition and not with communication. This first of its kind study highlights the importance and influence of local assets and market characteristics in the refocusing and rewiring of wellness and medical travel in 2025-2030. The report offers country and region-specific analysis of global and local trends and indicates how travel, hospitality, healthcare, spa and wellness businesses and organizations might benefit from the growing interest in health, wellness and wellbeing.

The report provides suggestions and guidance to businesses and destinations that have been hit hard by the global COVID19 pandemic. It is understood that both the general public as well as industry and government representatives have recognized the importance and role of wellbeing in everyday life. The leisure, recreation, hospitality, spa, wellness, travel and healthcare sectors have been looking for ideas and opportunities the pandemic might have initiated.

The Wellness, Health and Travel 2030: Regional and Country Outlook post-COVID19 Report sheds light on segments, facilities and properties as well as treatments and services that will play important roles in the restart.


The study looks at most aspects of travelling for medical or wellness reasons:

· How certain countries have managed the COVID19 pandemic can have a direct impact on how attractive those countries will be for medical tourists

· 11 recommendations that help to make corporate travel more wellness orientated, e.g. collect traveller wellness feedback post-trip

· With reference to the 2020 WTA Wellness Travel Consumer Survey (North America), 12 key consumer motivations for taking a Wellness Vacation, e.g. Social Connection has become a more important focus for the wellness traveller

· Key segments with growth opportunity for wellness travel now include groups of friends, families, solo men, and in certain countries same sex couples as well

· Hotel spas remain to be popular in certain countries, but the hospitality sector needs to be ready to see more and more eco-, and adventure wellness, as well as hot spring-based properties

· It is critical to note that the study confirmed that popularity of services and facility/property types vary by market segments as well as by countries and regions.


The tasks we have ahead are rather well summarizes by the observations by the study partners:

“What the report most signifies to me,” says Anne Dimon, President/CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, “is that when it comes to wellness tourism, the world is certainly not on the same page, speaking the same language. Many regions of the world continue to believe that wellness tourism is all about the spa experience. It is very evident that more education is needed on the topic.”

As Keith Pollard, the Editor in Chief of the International Medical Travel Journal stated: “COVID-19 has complicated what is already a complex and confusing market for health and wellness travel. The report brings clarity to this challenging market, and highlights the need for destinations and service providers to refine and focus their product and marketing mix. Market segmentation and an in-depth understanding of the drivers of wellness tourism are the key to success.”

This comprehensive summary and assessment of country-specific data and information confirms that every destination and project can have its very own identity as well as a unique experience and benefit proposition. Let those be hotels, spas, wellness centers, hospitals, clinics, retreats, hot springs, regions or destinations. Although there may be some global meta and fashion trends, fundamental intelligence still needs to be collected from every country and from every market. The long term success of wellness travel and the sustainability of communities and destinations require hospitality, leisure, healthcare, recreation and spa/wellness investors to pay closer attention to local market information and forecasts. One size may not fit all as we can see from the country and regional data and forecasts.

You can access the study here: (complimentary download after registration).

Written by László Puczkó. 

Health Tourism Worldwide in cooperation with the Wellness Tourism Association and International Medical Travel Journal, HTWW has released The Wellness, Health and Travel 2030: Regional and Country Outlook post-COVID19 Report. The study was conducted during the spring of 2021 and collected responses from 39 countries and regions with close cooperation with 42 industry experts from the presented countries and regions. The 42 local experts provided insights to country and regional resources and characteristics, and defined how the local markets fit or do not fit in the global and regional forecasts. The 39 countries and regions reviewed in this study represent every continent from The Americas to the Far East. HTWW sincerely thanks the experts for their insights and contribution.


Health Tourism Markets Rising – Live Webinar, October 14th 2021 with Irving Stackpole and László Puczkó. Demand is strong and consumers want to resume travelling. But the recovery of the travel markets is not happening at the same times, in the same places, or at the same rate among regions in the world. Also, people have been changed by the experience of the pandemic in ways that we still don’t completely understand. What can we do to increase business? Sign up here

The Marketing Handbook for Health TourismMarketing Handbook for Health Tourism.
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Established destinations and providers of health, wellness, dental and medical tourism are looking for ways to remain competitive, and new entrants to these competitive health, wellness and medical travel markets are looking for the path to success. The Marketing Handbook for Health Tourism offers practical, applicable insights for all these audiences.

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Marketing, research and business development consultant in healthcare, human services and senior living.

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