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Health tourism: definition focused on the Swiss market and conceptualisation of health(i)ness

Susanne Hofer (Institute of Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Science, Zurich, Switzerland)
Franziska Honegger (Institute of Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Science, Zurich, Switzerland)
Jonas Hubeli (Institute of Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Science, Zurich, Switzerland)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 16 March 2012

3726

Abstract

Purpose

This paper's purpose is to give an overview of current research regarding the concept of “health tourism” with a focus on Switzerland, and to determine whether a consensus on this concept and its embedding in existing/future markets can be found.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an explorative study combining literature review, questionnaires and qualitative interviews. Grounded theory was employed.

Findings

A service from the field of health care must have been provided prior to health tourism, allowing it to be classified under the health care system. Thus, health tourism is classified under the market for the sick and not under tourism which targets the healthy. Furthermore a new market for the healthy is emerging, which needs to be defined. As an example health(i)ness could help to clarify the terminology, to be seen as a gatekeeper of health and as a cultural paradigm change from cure to prevention.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed, regarding the positioning and development of health tourism and its synergies, as the cost pressures in health care increase and will continue to have a sustainable impact on health tourism.

Practical implications

The paper provides better knowledge of the term health tourism, its general classification, and particular reference to Switzerland, and information about upcoming changes in health care.

Originality/value

The findings add to the knowledge of how health tourism is embedded into health care and tourism, and show potential within the market for the healthy. It provides information to members of the tourism and health care market.

Keywords

Citation

Hofer, S., Honegger, F. and Hubeli, J. (2012), "Health tourism: definition focused on the Swiss market and conceptualisation of health(i)ness", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 60-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777261211211098

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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