Health Tourism in Switzerland

Importance and Development Perspectives

Hausarbeit, 2012
26 Seiten, Note: 1,3


Table of Content

1. Switzerland and Tourism

2. Health Tourism
2.1. Healing
2.2. Palliation
2.3. Prevention
2.4. Lifestyle

3. Health Tourism in Switzerland
3.1. Wellness Hotel Industry
3.1.1. Elements and Demand
3.1.2. Factors of Success and Requirements of the STV
3.1.3. Importance of Wellness for the Hotel Industry
3.1.4. Swiss Wellness Hotels, Quality Seals and Competition
3.2. Medical Tourism
3.3. Spiritual Tourism
3.4. Cure Tourism
3.5. Sports Tourism

4. Economical Relevance

5. Conclusion

6. Outlook

7. Sources

List of Figures

Figure 1: Categorization of Health Tourism (own figure)

Figure 2: Understanding of Wellness in Switzerland (Lanz Kaufmann, 1999)

Figure 3: Main Motivations for Wellness Holiday (Nahrstedt, 1999)

Figure 4: Wellness Offers in Swiss Hotels (Nahrstedt, 1999)

Figure 5: Medical Tourism Worldwide (Turner, 2007)

Figure 6: Parts of the Way of St. James in Switzerland (Verein Jakobsweg, 2011)

Figure 7: The Most Popular Hiking Destinations (Dreyer, Menzel & Endre ß , 2010)

Figure 8: Economic Sectors in Switzerland 2008 (Vimentis, 2011)

Figure 9: Survey of the BAT Freizeitforschungsinstitut, 2007

List of Tables

Table 1: Origin of Tourists, 2010/2011 (Bundesverwaltung, 2011)

Table 2: Relevance of Certain Aspects in Clear Types (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009)

Table 3: Selected Abbeys (Kauko, 2004)

Table 4: World Championships in Switzerland (VBS, 2010)

Table 5: Wellness Tourism Market 2007 (Lanz Kauf0mann & Stettler, 2009), in CHF

Table 6: Market Segments, Estimate (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009)

1. Switzerland and Tourism

Switzerland, in its full name the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic which consists of 26 cantons. It abuts on Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and France. According to the federal constitution Switzerland does not have a capital, but the seat of federal authorities is Bern. The country is landlocked and geographically divided between the Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura. With the size of 41,293 km², which is only one tenth of Germany, Switzerland hosts 7.9 million people speaking four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh (Hüsler, 2001). The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality as it has not experiences a war since 1815, has not joined the UN until 2002 and is still not part of the EU. Nevertheless Switzerland hosts many international organizations, for example the second largest UN office, and is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product (nominal per capita GDP: $75,835). Zurich and Geneva have been ranked as the cities with the second and third highest quality of life in the world (Renner, 2011). The Swiss are known to be industrious, reliable, honest, good-natured, peaceable and friendly. They grow up in their country knowing that this is something very special taking full credit for the unique beauty of the countryside and being very proud of it (Gerth et al., 2000).

Determining natural factors for the development of tourism are the mountains, rivers, lakes and the climate. While the Alps occupy almost two third of the surface, the Jura spans over approximately one sixth. Except the river Inn all important rivers have their source in the Gotthard Massif. With a size of 581 km² the Lake Geneva is the biggest within the more than 600 inland waters. Determining for the Swiss climate is the alps in its function as European weather divide. While northern parts and midland appear to have a climate influenced by the Atlantic Sea, Southern parts share sunnier Mediterranean climate (Hüsler, 2001).

The tourism industry is the sixth biggest economic sector in Switzerland. In 2003, 43% of the 22.2 billion Swiss francs (CHF) total receipts were generated by internal tourism. Foreign tourist expended 12.5 billion francs, which is about 3% of the GDP. One out of twelve Swiss employees owes his job directly or indirectly to tourism (Danielli, 2004). The tourism industry creates more jobs than industries like the building trade or engineering.

Nowadays Swiss tourism is not restricted to certain regions, but rather stands for a destination of variety (Bieger & Laesser, 1998). The tourism industry in Switzerland is Health Tourism in Switzerland: Importance and Development Perspectives Laura Klöpping, LTM divided into two halves: the Central Plateau for short breaks and weekend breaks, and the Alps for longer holidays and during peak holiday seasons. The main regions of the passers- by (short break and weekend guests) are Geneva and Zurich with around 2 million overnight stays per year and Lausanne and Lucerne with about one million nights. All these cities are located along the Great Lakes and provide good areas for weekend guests since these regions are densely populated and allow short travel times. In addition, the excellent infrastructure enables the management of leisure traffic from outside the country. The domestic tourism industry has therefore accounts for about 20-30%, except in a few areas, where it is higher than 50%. As the holiday resorts of the Alps do not depend on the settlement areas, the distribution is decentralized. Only Davos has a number of 2 million overnight stays per year. The share of domestic tourism here is 25-40%, which is higher than for the passers-by (Bleyenberg, 2000).

The table below shows the origin of Swiss tourists, comparing 2010 and 2011:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1: Origin of Tourists, 2010/2011 (Bundesverwaltung, 2011)

2. Health Tourism

Travelling for medical reasons already started around the 6th century before Christ in India, Greece and Persia (Douglas et al., 2001) and was mainly concerned with healing attributes of specific places like the famous baths in the English Bath. Until today, health tourism had to develop to fit together with modern needs and changed values.

The goal of health tourism was and still is the conservation, stabilization or recovery of health at a foreign place, where - as distinct to usual holiday destinations - the main focus is on health performance. Those services could be medical and balneological treatments, therapeutic advice or care, sports activities or health nutrition (Berg, 2008).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Categorization of Health Tourism (own figure)

There are many ways to categorize health tourism. One of them is described by Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler (2009). It as an approach that was drafted from the demand side. Therefore we can distinguish between lifestyle, prevention, healing and palliation. The market for healing and palliative treatments consists of demanders who actually suffer from an illness (see figure 1). This paper aims to describe some selected aspects of health tourism in Switzerland, such as sports tourism, spiritual tourism and wellness as aspects of lifestyle/prevention and rehabilitation and medical tourism as examples for healing/palliation, although a definite categorization is impossible to make.

2.1. Healing

Despite immense improvements in medicine the number of people contracting diseases of civilization, age-related diseases, chronic and psychological illnesses is still growing. Thanks to growing prosperity and improved medical care the importance of health and medical treatments is rising and makes the healing market a growing market (Sigrist, 2006).

2.2. Palliation

Palliation is defined as an active, holistic treatment for patients with a progressive, far advanced illness and a limited life expectancy at the time when the illness is impossible to be treated with curative methods. The highest priority then has the containment of pain and working on psychological, social and spiritual problems. So palliative care is not about life extension but about improving quality of life, which means that wishes, goals and feelings of the patient are to the fore. A stay in a calm atmosphere is therefore offered by health or wellness hotels, which have different medical services at their disposal. Another requirement for a good offer is a suitable infrastructure (baths, applications) and the personal contact with the guest to create an atmosphere of wellbeing (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009).

2.3. Prevention

With the growing motivation to stay healthy as long as possible, the importance of the prevention market, based on the need to prevent illnesses and keep health, is also growing. There is a wide range of products and services in this market. Examples are sport and leisure activities, healthy nutrition, back trainings, alternative therapies, cosmetics, travel, clothes, or dietary supplements. A growing segment of the prevention market is for example the supply of small electronic gadgets to monitor the own health situation (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009).

However, the overall expenses for prevention are very low compared to the treatment of illnesses. The Swiss spend about one billion francs for prevention in one year, which is only 2.2% of overall health expenses (Mäder, 2008).

2.4. Lifestyle

The lifestyle sector is influenced by social factors like social class or education and biological factors like age, gender, and health situation (Sigrist, 2006). Health is changing into a consumer good and most of the health products are only able to win through if they are combined with any lifestyle element, especially those for younger people (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009).

3. Health Tourism in Switzerland

Cure tourism has a very long history in Switzerland, which reaches back to the 15th century. Until the 18th century predominantly drinking cures were the most popular, then spa treatments gained in importance. After the Swiss tourism had developed in a considerable extend, the great spa boom arrived in the country and helped about 300 sanatoriums to be developed in the 1860s and 1870s (Rulle, 2008).

Today the traditional health tourism in Switzerland is carried by the Association of Swiss Health Spas (Verband Schweizer Heilbäder), founded in 1924. It owns 20 health resorts, which underwent a quite strict certification process and which are approved by the health insurances (Rulle, 2008). Another institution for the health tourism segment is the Association of Swiss Health Resorts (VSK - Verband der Schweizer Kurhäuser). In addition to this, the Concordat of Swiss Health Insurer (KSK) outlines health resorts as recommendations for members (Hutschneker, 1998).

3.1. Wellness Hotel Industry

The term wellness was designed by the US American physician Halbert Dunn in 1959. He wrote about a high human state, when body, soul and spirit feel good. He called this level of personal satisfaction high-level Wellness (well-being + fitness) and describes it as following: "High-level Wellness is an integrated method of functioning which is oriented towards a higher potential of which the individual is capable, within the environment where he is functioning (…) High-level Wellness, therefore involves direction in progress forward und upward towards a higher potential of functioning, an open-ended tomorrow with its challenge to live at a fuller potential, and integration of the whole being of the total individual - his body, mind and spirit - in the functioning process.” (Dunn, 1959: 786)

Despite a wide range of definitions and interpretations of today’s wellness, they all have some things in common: the central importance of lifestyle, self-responsibility for health, the multifactorial etiology of health and the utilization of potentials to a better quality of life (Nahrstedt, 1999). This concept of wellness can be applied for an individual as well as for families, communities or business, political or religious groups. The challenge is then to use the individual potential effectively (Lanz Kaufmann, 1999).

A Swiss survey shows the different ways of understanding the term of wellness. It was already realized in 1998. About two third of the interviewed persons had already heard about wellness and 44% of those chose the definition “physical and mental activity, healthy eating and relaxation” (Lanz Kaufmann, 1999: 56; translated by the author), which is described as holism in figure 2. Therefore more than the half of them had no or only a very limited understanding in 1998. Today most Swiss are now able to classify the term in a more holistic way (Lanz Kaufmann & Stettler, 2009).


Ende der Leseprobe aus 26 Seiten


Health Tourism in Switzerland
Importance and Development Perspectives
Fachhochschule Stralsund
Health Tourism
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
5684 KB
health, tourism, switzerland, importance, development, perspectives
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Laura Klöpping (Autor), 2012, Health Tourism in Switzerland, München, GRIN Verlag,


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