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Analysing wellness tourism provision: a retreat operators' study

Analysing wellness tourism provision: a retreat operators' study

Kelly, Catherine ORCID: 0000-0002-7776-1874 (2010) Analysing wellness tourism provision: a retreat operators' study. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 17 (1). pp. 108-116. ISSN 1447-6770 (Print), 1839-5260 (Online) (doi:

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The aim of this article is to focus on developing an understanding of wellness tourism provision. A brief contextualisation is offered, along with a discussion of definitions and classifications. Subsequently, in order to offer a more in-depth analysis, one market category — that of the holistic or wellness ‘retreat’ — is assessed in greater detail. This research attempts to unpick some of the generalisations made about the wellness tourism sector by providing detailed research on one under-represented part of this market provision. An operator database was created of retreat centres globally, based on the author’s definitional classification criteria. Over 500 centres’ data were collated and reviewed. From this a more in-depth survey took place, whereby 50 retreat providers were interviewed to research a range of motivational, experiential and management issues related to wellness tourism. The research shows that retreat operators are a relatively unique group of wellness tourism providers insofar as they are poorly organised collectively (compared, for example, to the spa sector); the vast majority can be classified as ‘lifestyle entrepreneurs’ in terms of their business motivations and aspirations; many own, manage and teach at their centres, and their views on and engagement with training, regulation and the tourism sector itself are very much place-specific. The product focus of many retreats is what sets them apart from other aspects of wellness tourism.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] This article appears in a special section: Health. wellness and tourism for destination development [2] The Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management is a quality peer-reviewed journal of the Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE). [3] This journal was previously published by the Australian Academic Press at [4] Publishing has now moved to Cambridge University Press
Uncontrolled Keywords: wellness tourism, retreat, holistic, lifestyle, motivations
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
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Last Modified: 17 May 2019 11:01

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