Committee on Transport and Tourism – Health tourism in the EU: a general investigation
STUDY PRESENTATION: 27 February, 9:45-10:30
Health tourism is a subsector of general tourism that comprises medical, wellness, and spa tourism. Health tourism accounts for around 5% of general tourism in the EU28 and contributes approximately 0.3% to the EU economy. Health tourism has a much higher domestic share than general tourism does. Increasing the share of health tourism may reduce tourism seasonality, improve sustainability and labour quality, and may help to reduce health costs through prevention measures and decreased pharmaceutical consumption.
A presentation of the study “Health tourism in the EU: a general investigation” was organized by the EP’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies on 27 February 2018 and focused on the four following issues:
- The definition of Health tourism and its three main components (medical, wellness and spa)
- The main numbers and figures (including revenues)
- The EU, national and regional policies
- The SWOT analysis undertaken by the authors
- The various future scenarios explored in the study
- The main conclusions & recommendations.
The expert explained that medical tourism involves people travelling expressly to access medical treatment. People travel for wellness tourism to maintain or enhance their personal health and well-being. Spa tourism focuses on healing, relaxation or beautifying of the body that is preventative and/or curative in nature. These three forms of health tourism (medical, wellness, and spa) reside on two parallel continuums: ‘illness-health-wellness’ and ‘curative-preventative-promotive’.
The debate that followed the expert’s presentation revolved around the market size and growth of health tourism in certain Member States and just how significant this subsector of tourism is for the future of EU tourism as a whole. Questions raised by Members of the European Parliament included issues on the legal framework for EU citizens, the role of third countries and the added-value health tourism can bring to peripheral regions.
Link to watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation) – Study presentation starts at 09:42:51
Useful background documents:
Further reading: Health tourism in the EU: a general investigation