|Growth potential for wellness and medical tourism in Australia.|
Monday, 4th October 2010
Source : Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (S
New research exploring the future of wellness and medical tourism in Australia has recommended the establishment of national industry bodies for each of the niche tourism sectors to drive Australia’s market share of these burgeoning international tourism products.
The report Wellness and Medical Tourism in Australia was commissioned to explore the current status of wellness and medical tourism in Australia and to identify future opportunities to build these niche tourism sectors domestically and internationally.
The research from Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) reveals that the majority (72%) of wellness tourism providers (which includes day spas, lifestyle resorts and spiritual retreats) are located in regional areas with almost half of the businesses surveyed providing wellness services for five years or less. According to the researchers this information highlights how young this niche sector is and the opportunities that growing these tourism offerings present for regional communities.
The report identifies a number of focus areas for a national wellness tourism industry body including lobbying state and federal governments to support and drive a national wellness tourism brand, providing the sector with best practice business models and benchmarking indicators, developing accreditation systems and staff remuneration standards and seeking support for health insurance reimbursement for wellness tourism providers.
In terms of medical tourism, the report identifies Australia’s competitive international advantage as being able to deliver quality medical services at lower price points than the United States and parts of Asia. In particular the research has also highlighted Australia’s medical strengths and expertise which could drive an international market including IVF services, cardiology, urology, orthopaedic surgery and oncology.
It was identified that a national medical tourism body could assist development of this sector in areas including; lobbying the federal government for a review of the application process for long-stay and short-stay medical visas, negotiating with international insurers to recognise Australian accreditation, or accredit providers in accord with international standards and taking a lead role in the development and promotion of an internationally competitive medical tourism market.
CEO of STCRC, Ian Kean, says the research, which was commissioned to define the current status of wellness and medical tourism in Australia and to determine future opportunities to build the sector domestically and internationally, has provided these nich tourism sectors with important data to drive market growth. “There has been little academic research undertaken in Australia or internationally to understand these developing niche markets,” Mr Kean said.
“This research represents the first comprehensive study of wellness and medical tourism in Australia and importantly it delivers pathways for individual operators and the industry as a whole to build capacity within Australia and internationally.”
CEO of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Matt Hingerty, says the research from STCRC has provided information that will assist the tourism sector in its strategic development of these niche markets. “There is irrefutable demographic evidence of the ageing of international tourists to Australia and thus the demand for wellness and even medical services will grow,” Mr Hingerty said.
“By the same token, older travellers may not consider a destination that does not cater to their health needs. Australia needs to have an ‘eyes wide open’ approach to both the potential benefits and risks of this booming global sector and therefore the recommendations in this study are most welcome.”
STCRC has created an industry summary which captures the key research, findings and recommendations from the Wellness and Medical Tourism in Australia report. It can be downloaded by clicking here.
For further information contact Samantha Kume, Communications Executive, Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, Tel: 07 5552 8116, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University QLD 4222