Abstract: Ageing population is a widely discussed phenomenon. Supporting seniors’ healthy and active lifestyle, a wide range of products and services are aimed at serving elder age groups’ needs. Travelling with tourism purposes is among one of the popular activities of seniors in developed countries. Acknowledging tourism’s benefits, the European Union is also supporting programmes with the objective of developing new tourism products, new tourism flows. In the framework of the COSME programme (co-funded by the EU), projects have been initiated with the main objective fostering tourism flows during the off-season period. This can help not only to raise the quality of life of the involved travellers, but can result a better use of tourism capacities, and a more balanced tourism performance of destinations. One of the COSME programme is the Off to Spas project (676737/COSME) that aims creating a new health tourism product in the Central European countries attractive for senior tourists during the offseason period.
Keywords: health tourism, perceptions, image, Northern Europe,
Abstract: In order to identify the real potential of a new tourism product development – health tourism in this case –, good information about the target group is essential. With this aim, a primary research has been conducted in the framework of the Off to Spas project. The online consumer survey (170 respondents, mainly from Sweden) reflects the attitudes of the potential senior travellers. Besides the general attitudes and travel experiences, the survey focused on the potential of new health tourism product and the elements of a health tourism trip attractive outside of the main season period. As the results show, the already affluent travellers are especially interested in the experiences and discovering new places that can support to maintain their good health condition and support a good quality of life. The introduction of medical treatments and services could be also enriched by the wellness services and non-health tourism attractions, among them culture, gastronomy and nature have the best potential. However, in the case of new, emerging destinations, the general tourism image and awareness should be also communicated, in order to reach successfully these segment.
Keywords: health tourism, stakeholder analysis, product development,
Abstract: In order to provide a comprehensive view about the potential of the new health tourism product development, the consumer survey has been accompanied by a stakeholders survey. Getting to know stakeholders’ opinion and perception, it enables to elaborate a realistic product development process. Gaps identified between travellers’ and stakeholders’ perception can support to map strength (to be communicated more intensively) and weaknesses (to be developed in the future) of the new health tourism product. In the case of the Off to Spas project, the conclusions highlights that stakeholders are more ‘rational’ and focusing on ‘hard’ factors (e.g. infrastructure, safety), meanwhile potential travellers can be attracted by the emotional benefits, and experiences provided by the destination visited.