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  5. Eight Steps to Lead Health Tourism to Customer Satisfaction

2012 Vol.1
Eight Steps to Lead Health Tourism to Customer Satisfaction


Japan is experiencing extreme aging of the population, ahead of other countries. Although the average life expectancy is increasing, there is a gap of six to eight years between it and healthy life expectancy, which raises the issue of how we can lead lives that do not become bedridden ones towards the end. An increase in lifestyle-related diseases not only among the aging population, but also among those in their late middle age as well as mental and physical ailments among the youth is a serious social problem. Various health measures are being taken in efforts to solve such health-related issues. In tourism, health tourism has been attracting people’s attention in this respect.
At the same time, the tourism market has been shrinking for decades. In particular, travel involving overnight stays is declining, and the market for inn accommodation has shrunk significantly for the past two decades. Besides economic reasons, the situation can be attributed to the supply side being unable to well respond to diverse customer needs. It is hoped that health tourism can provide a way to vitalize the country’s stagnant tourism industry.
To further understand health tourism and the number of visitors it attracts, a questionnaire survey and interviews with hotels and inns in the Tokai region were conducted. The findings show that even if accommodation facilities promote health tourism, the findings are mixed: some are successful in attracting visitors while others are not.
This paper discusses the current state of health problems and the various measures taken by the national and local governments as well as private companies, and examines the reality of health tourism and relevant issues in connection with Japan’s tourism resources and the condition of the tourism industry. Based on the findings from the questionnaire survey and interviews, this paper proposes eight steps necessary for solving the issues facing health tourism.