As more people around the world take an active interest in their health, a travel segment known as health tourism has evolved to fill customer needs. Not to be confused with medical tourism, which focuses more on surgical procedures, health tourism is a much broader concept centered mainly around resorts designed to pamper or improve the body and relax the mind.
Hundreds of health resorts and spas exist around the world, offering specialized beauty and fitness services, and extended programs to improve your health. These resorts are almost always located in stunning natural environments or in the trendiest city districts. Spas play a major role in health tourism, but this field also extends into areas like addiction treatment and weight loss.
Destination spas and health resorts are the most common and popular health travel venue. They offer a comprehensive range of services, from massage and Ayurvedic therapy to yoga and outdoor recreation facilities. The goal of these resorts is to send their guests home feeling happier, healthier, fitter and more relaxed. Everything is contained within the health spa resort, allowing guests to relax and focus on themselves.
Spa resorts often specialize in a particular health remedies. Mineral baths have been around for thousands of years, and countries like Bulgaria and New Zealand capitalize on these natural geothermal properties. Mud baths and other natural health cures are usually accompanied by a full menu of pampering services like massage and facials at these facilities. More holistic resorts offer treatments like acupuncture, colonic cleansing, hypnotherapy and meditation.
There are also specialized health centres for issues such as weight loss. These resorts place an emphasis on losing weight and improving eating habits. Guests typically follow a schedule lasting from a few days to a week or more. The meals are specially tailored to boost health and guests attend workshops to learn more about staying fit, eating right and keeping their weight down.
Another common specialized health destination is for addicts. Alcohol and drug addiction are the two most common problems dealt with at these facilities. They are set up like all-inclusive resort centers, except that there is more emphasis on monitoring the guests’ behavior and keeping them on their rigid programs. These are not particularly relaxing resorts, but they can often break a person’s addiction in a healthy manner.
Fitness holidays are gaining popularity with travelers who want to get some well-needed exercise while on vacation. This is the broadest category of health tourism, because the location is more important than the venue. Mountain resorts provide skiing in the winter and hiking and biking in the summer. Beach resorts are also popular for swimming and water sports. A fitness holiday places the impetus of action entirely on the traveller, and there are resorts at virtually every popular outdoor destination on the planet.