Health regions as tourism destinations: A new approach to regional development?
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The driving forces for the emerging health tourism market match those observed for the entire health care industry and include demographic and psychographic change with a growing health awareness creating demand for a new range of health related products and services in a leisure setting. Considering the growing demand for but also supply of health tourism products and services, competence management in a destination or region will play an increasingly significant role. With this paper we highlight the growing importance of health as a regional development strategy before we specifically discuss the development of 'health regions' and outline the role tourism can play in their establishment. Not much research has yet been carried out on these newly established 'health regions' to capture their operations and effectiveness. With the case example of the health region Kneippland Unterallgau in Bavaria, Germany we present the issues surrounding the development of one particular health region which is founded on health and wellness tourism.
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