Health Tourism: Conceptual Framework and Insights from the case of a Spanish mature destination
The objectives of this paper are to review the different concepts and approaches on health tourism, to propose a simplified framework and to present the real situation of the sector through a case study. Most of the previous studies have analysed different specific areas of this type of tourism, without providing a clear and integrated picture of it. Moreover, certain geographical areas, mostly Asian countries, have received most of the attention, leaving other more mature destination without empirical evidence about the development of this tourism sector. The methodology has been, firstly, to conduct a review of the main research on health tourism, integrating integrate the different concepts and approaches in order to propose a simplified framework. Secondly, to describe the result of a specific case study based on the analysis of sixty-nine businesses and ten in-depth interviews to managers in a consolidated mature destination in Spain (Costa del Sol). The conclusions of this paper are, firstly, to show how health tourism is a conceptual umbrella for several practices related to wellness and health travel, and, secondly, to provide evidence about the situation and practices related to this sector in a specific mature destination.
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