Laing, J, Voight, C, Wray, M, Brown, G, Weiler, B, Howat, G & Trembath, R 2010, 'Sand, surf, spa and spirituality? examination of a scoping study of medical and wellness tourism in Australia', in L Puczkó (ed.), Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) European Chapter Conference Proceedings: Health, wellness and tourism – healthy tourists, healthy business?, Budapest, Hungary, 1-3 September, Travel and Tourism Research Association Europe, Dalarna, Sweden, ISBN: 9789163346668.
The strong growth of medical and wellness tourism around the globe is the result of a number of factors, such as the desire of many travellers to try new experiences and escape from increasingly busy lives, the rising health costs in the developed world and the number and diversity of medical and wellness tourism products now available. Australia is no exception to this trend, with the realisation that there is great potential for promoting the destination around the medical and wellness tourist experience or as a supplement to the traditional attractions of the Outback, the Reef and food and wine. However, the paucity of research that currently exists in relation to this industry needs to be addressed, if full advantage is to be taken of this worldwide growth. To this end, a scoping study of Australian medical and wellness tourism was commissioned by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, to analyse the current state of play and identify future research needs requiring more in-depth investigation. A secondary aim was to compare Australia’s current offerings with international examples. Key findings of this study include identification of the broad range of Australian medical and wellness tourism products in existence, exploration of the potential of Australia to provide niche medical tourism offerings, and identification of key success factors and barriers for the Australian medical and wellness and medical tourism industries. The paper concludes by suggesting some future research avenues.