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Sustainable Health Tourism

A topical collection in Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This collection belongs to the section "Health, Well-Being and Sustainability".

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Editors


E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Economics and Business Administration, Campus El Ejido s/n 29071, University of Málaga, 29016 Málaga, Spain
Interests: Social responsibility; Financial performance; Sport; Health and Tourism; Listed companies; Corporate governance; Environmental and controversies issues

E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Anesthesiology, Dartmouth-Hitchhcock, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756-0001, USA
Interests: Management of difficult cases; Safety in the operating room; Ergonomics of medicine; Social and sustainable medicine

E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Economics and Business Administration, Campus El Ejido s/n 29071, University of Málaga, 29016 Málaga, Spain
Interests: Innovation; Tourism; Smart cities; Corporate governance; Environmental and controversies issues

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable Health Tourism, a current phenomenon, can be broadly defined as tourism that contributes to physical and mental health through medical and wellness activities that increase the ability of individuals to meet those needs.

Although health tourism has grown significantly in recent years, it is understudied. Effectively exploiting this niche market and grasp its growth potential in the development of sustainable tourism further research is warranted.

Wellness tourism and Medical tourism comprise different categories within health tourism. Whereas Wellness Tourism aims to improve and balance the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of individuals through activities that improve lifestyle—such as physical activity, relaxation, personal care, and healthy eating habits—Medical Tourism refers to a tourism activity that involves the use of medical resources and services for the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, cure, and subsequent rehabilitation from illness.

Presently, society spends an increasing amount time on leisure activities, and resources are employed in actions that promote and encourage healthy lifestyles. These factors contribute to the growth of health tourism; the strained and overloaded condition of medical care in a large number of developed countries, where aging and chronic illnesses take an ever-larger percentage of total health expenditures, sets the stage for medical tourism.

In addition, life in cities poses a challenge to public health which, together with chronic diseases, leads to a growing demand for health-related travel, natural alternatives, and escapism. Technology and innovation also facilitate health-related travel, such as minimally invasive technology (e.g., laparoscopy), or novelties in aesthetic treatments.

Despite the expansion of health tourism, estimating its growth and market size is presently difficult due to limited, fragmented, and often unreliable data.

Sustainability and social responsibility have become key criteria in health tourism. Destinations must consider the impact of health tourism on the quality of life of local residents, as the wellbeing of local residents should be considered as important as the health of tourists.

Amongst the strengths of health tourism, in its capability to match demand and offer during the year, and when compared to other tourism classifications heavily dependent and associated with specific times of the year, is combating the strong seasonality tendency of the tourist industry. The dispersal and relocation of tourism centers throughout urban and rural areas promotes regional development otherwise lacking under general conditions.  

The Topical Collection welcomes papers focused on the latest knowledge in this area of research. The papers must show originality and give a significant contribution to the scope of the Topical Collection.

Prof. Dr. Mercedes Rodríguez-Fernández
Prof. Dr. Yvon Bryan
Dr. Eva M. Sánchez-Teba
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medical
  • health
  • sustainability
  • tourism
  • wellbeing
  • wellness
  • social responsibility
  • rural development
  • urban development

Published Papers (7 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022, 2021, 2020

28 pages, 352 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Approaches to Medical Tourism: Strategies for Central Macedonia/Greece
by Georgios Tsekouropoulos, Anastasia Vasileiou, Greta Hoxha, Avraam Dimitriadis and Ioannis Zervas
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010121 - 22 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
The study of health and medical tourism is a multifaceted and intricate field. Nevertheless, it is a swiftly expanding global industry with considerable economic prospects. This sector involves the exchange of services, blending two of the world’s major domains: healthcare and tourism. This [...] Read more.
The study of health and medical tourism is a multifaceted and intricate field. Nevertheless, it is a swiftly expanding global industry with considerable economic prospects. This sector involves the exchange of services, blending two of the world’s major domains: healthcare and tourism. This research aims to evaluate the strengths of medical tourism service providers in the Central Macedonia Region while shedding light on various challenges that could impede the sector’s growth. Additionally, it investigates crucial sustainability factors and opportunities within the Greek medical tourism industry that can effectively address obstacles, both domestic and international, to enhance sustainable medical services. The study delves into the reasons why the Central Macedonia Region can attract both local and international medical travelers seeking healthcare solutions. With this aim in mind, both Systematic Literature Review (SLR) and primary quantitative research methods were employed. The SLR aimed to locate pertinent scientific literature, which, when integrated with the outcomes of the quantitative research, facilitated the analysis, description, and interpretation of data for the formulation of conclusive findings. In brief, this article aims to contribute scientific value by engaging in interdisciplinary research and demonstrating originality through innovative approaches to sustainable development. It seeks to make a significant contribution to the field by presenting practical strategies and insights that strike a balance between the economic advantages of medical tourism and the crucial considerations of environmental and social impact. Full article

2022

Jump to: 2023, 2021, 2020

19 pages, 1642 KiB  
Article
Application of a Decision-Making Tool for Ranking Wellness Tourism Destinations
by Ana Paula Lopes and Nuria Rodríguez-López
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15498; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315498 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2597
Abstract
One of the tourism industry’s segments with the strongest growth rates today is health tourism. Health tourism includes two subgroups: medical tourism (traveling outside one’s country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care, such as surgery and health services) and wellness [...] Read more.
One of the tourism industry’s segments with the strongest growth rates today is health tourism. Health tourism includes two subgroups: medical tourism (traveling outside one’s country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care, such as surgery and health services) and wellness tourism (travel to specific locations for health promotion in a preventive way). The economic strength and sustainable growth of nations can both benefit from health tourism. This study applies a methodology to quantify the potential of Portuguese wellness tourism (thermal spas in Northern Portugal) using a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) tool, namely the preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluations (PROMETHEE) and geometrical analysis for interactive aid (GAIA), to achieve a robust evaluation and ranking the alternatives. Therefore, in this study, the aim is to rank ten thermal spas in Northern Portugal in terms of fifteen indicators, mostly related to digital services, containing the tourism data obtained between 2020 and 2022. The suggested approach offers trustworthy and reliable outcomes for any qualitative or quantitative criteria to assess thermal spas, which is crucial for consumers, businesses, and even governments. The results showed that PROMETHEE and GAIA can be implemented as an effective method in wellness tourism destinations evaluation. Full article
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15 pages, 648 KiB  
Article
The Impacts of Tourism Stays on Residents’ Self-Reported Health: A Pan-European Analysis on the Role of Age and Urbanization Level
by Anna Bornioli, Susan J. Vermeulen, Jeroen van Haaren, Riccardo Valente and Giuliano Mingardo
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031157 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
Understanding the impacts of tourism on the quality of life of residents is a priority for the sustainable tourism agenda, and is especially relevant to the COVID-19 recovery period. However, the evidence is poor, and it is not clear whether the outcomes vary [...] Read more.
Understanding the impacts of tourism on the quality of life of residents is a priority for the sustainable tourism agenda, and is especially relevant to the COVID-19 recovery period. However, the evidence is poor, and it is not clear whether the outcomes vary among sociodemographic groups. This study fills this gap by proposing a pan-European analysis of the effects of tourism stays per 1000 residents (as a measure of tourism pressure) on self-perceived health at a regional level, based on data from Eurostat, the EU-SILC (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey), and the LFS (Labor Force Survey). Multilevel models with random effects were used, including three levels: region, time, and region–time. Results show that tourism pressure may benefit self-reported health but only among residents aged over 50 years old living in rural contexts, or over 65 living in low density urban areas. As for younger groups (under 50) living in high density cities, tourism is longitudinally associated with worsened self-reported health. These results, which are supported by instrumental-variable estimations, suggest that urban residents and younger groups do not benefit from tourism. This might be due to a number of side effects related to increased living costs, precarious labour, and conflicts related to public space. Therefore, our findings challenge the narrative that urban tourism universally improves residents’ quality of life. Considering the global urgency of creating healthier and more equitable post-COVID-19 cities and societies, tourism should be considered together with health and equity dimensions. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2020

18 pages, 2211 KiB  
Article
Examining Factors Influencing COVID-19 Vaccine Tourism for International Tourists
by Laddawan Kaewkitipong, Charlie Chen and Peter Ractham
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212867 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4637
Abstract
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on global tourism. Vaccine tourism is a novel health tourism concept, which provides an opportunity for countries with a vaccine surplus to offer medical tourism packages to entice international tourists from countries [...] Read more.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on global tourism. Vaccine tourism is a novel health tourism concept, which provides an opportunity for countries with a vaccine surplus to offer medical tourism packages to entice international tourists from countries with vaccine shortages to visit for sightseeing and receive vaccine inoculations. Understanding the factors that influence people to adopt vaccine tourism is one of the strategies that could boost a country’s tourism sector and help to revive the local economy. This study aims to examine the factors influencing the intention to adopt and recommend COVID-19 vaccine tourism among young travelers. A total of 179 questionnaire surveys were collected from traveling-related social media outlets. Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was performed to analyze the data. The results indicate that young tourists in Thailand are inclined to promote vaccine tourism to others. Price value appears to be the most significant influencing factor on intentions to both adopt and recommend vaccine tourism. Additionally, trust in the foreign healthcare system was positively associated with young travelers’ intention to recommend vaccine tourism to others. Theoretically, this research adds to the medical tourism literature, suggesting that, while trust is an important factor influencing the medical tourism decision, it appears to be insignificant in the context of vaccine tourism. Full article
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19 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Broken but Well: Healing Dimensions of Cultural Tourism Experiences
by Daniela Angelina Jelinčić and Ingeborg Matečić
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020966 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3589
Abstract
Wellbeing has been researched in relation to social, wellness, rural, backpacker, senior, wildlife, transformational or transformative tourism or studies exist specifically focusing on wellbeing tourism. Surprisingly enough, there is a void of research focus on wellbeing in cultural tourism, although culture has been [...] Read more.
Wellbeing has been researched in relation to social, wellness, rural, backpacker, senior, wildlife, transformational or transformative tourism or studies exist specifically focusing on wellbeing tourism. Surprisingly enough, there is a void of research focus on wellbeing in cultural tourism, although culture has been considered as having a substantial impact on wellbeing. The research uses the case study of the Museum of Broken Relationships (MBR) in Zagreb, Croatia, under the assumption that MBR experiences have a relevant influence on tourists’ subjective wellbeing. Subjective wellbeing was measured after the visitation using the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS) and a majority of the respondents experienced moderate to high wellbeing. Furthermore, the research aimed to investigate whether or not there is any difference between cultural and non-cultural tourists’ subjective wellbeing noted after the visitation to the Museum. The results showed that there was no substantial difference between cultural and non-cultural tourists’ subjective wellbeing. Full article

2020

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021

17 pages, 569 KiB  
Article
Medical Tourism Markets: Models of Sustainability. The Case of Spain and The Costa del Sol (Malaga)
by Ricardo Pagan and Daniel Horsfall
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8818; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218818 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4292
Abstract
The interest and relevance of medical tourism has increased significantly over the last few decades, and it has become a very lucrative source of income and profit for many firms. This paper analyses the sustainability of the medical tourism model in Spain in [...] Read more.
The interest and relevance of medical tourism has increased significantly over the last few decades, and it has become a very lucrative source of income and profit for many firms. This paper analyses the sustainability of the medical tourism model in Spain in general, and in The Costa del Sol (Spain) in particular, in order to investigate the potential challenges that the domestic industry will face in the future. For this purpose, we first analysed the process of the globalization of health services and the main characteristics of the Spanish medical tourism industry (in terms of tourism and health services). Second, we examined the data availability on medical tourism for the cases of Spain, Andalusia and The Costa del Sol, and identified who travels, why, and for what reasons. The results show that Spain and The Costa del Sol offer high-quality medical and tourism facilities and services with very competitive prices, and with the high commitment and support of public local authorities, tourism and health providers, and universities. However, the lack of a real leadership, well-defined strategy, financial support, and specific training programs are considered to be crucial challenges for the near future. In addition to this, the novel coronavirus, the economic crisis, Brexit and the situation of British expats living in Spain and The Costa del sol are also discussed. Full article
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16 pages, 529 KiB  
Article
Perceived Risks, Travel Constraints, and Destination Perception: A Study on Sub-Saharan African Medical Travellers
by Mohammad Jamal Khan, Firoz Khan, Saba Amin and Shankar Chelliah
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072807 - 2 Apr 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3659
Abstract
In medical travel, previous studies have investigated the factors that influence medical travellers to receive treatment outside the country. However, most of these studies are limited to travel motivations and perceptions of medical services at destinations. The main objective of this study was [...] Read more.
In medical travel, previous studies have investigated the factors that influence medical travellers to receive treatment outside the country. However, most of these studies are limited to travel motivations and perceptions of medical services at destinations. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between medical travellers’ perceived risks, travel constraints, and destination image based on medical and non-medical attributes. This is a quantitative study whereby the data was collected from 306 sub-Saharan African medical travellers, who visited India for the treatment. The study found that physical-health risk has a significant negative influence on destination image based on medical attributes. The service quality risk has a negative effect on destination image based on both medical and non-medical attributes, and destination risk has a negative effect on destination image based on medical attributes. The study also found that travel constraints have a negative influence on both medical and non-medical destination image. Full article
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