Monday, April 17, 2017

New research suggests growth in wellness tourism is more a reflection of healthy habits than an antidote to a stressful lifestyle

                                Hilton Head Health Beach Boot Camp

SmartState Center team members Simon Hudson, Fang Meng and David Cardenas are pleased to announce an article fresh off the press in the International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research. The paper, co-authored with former PhD student Karen Thal, examines the direct relationships between behavioral intention and factors driving the growth of the wellness tourism industry in the U.S. Research was conducted at Hilton Head Health, a popular wellness retreat and weight loss spa resort in South Carolina. Two models were estimated and tested using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), each incorporating two constructs – life stress and involvement in health - in addition to theoretically stipulated antecedents to behavioral intention. Both constructs were found to be significant predictors of behavioral intention. However, involvement proved a much stronger predictor than life stress. This would suggest that growth in the wellness tourism market is associated with health and wellness practices that are central rather than peripheral to potential wellness tourists’ ways of life. Just as environmental values are associated with greener travel behaviors, so too wellness tourism appears to be an extension of ingrained values and attitudes - rather than an escape from unhealthy or stress-filled lifestyles. The full article can be found at: