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Mental Health Tourism Could Be the New Niche

July 21, 2008 By: Mark Rogers

Just as travel agents are beginning to familiarize themselves with the concept of medical tourism, a new wrinkle comes along. The Bangkok Post is reporting on the contents of a paper presented by Japanese researchers at the Asia Pacific Tourism Association annual conference held last week in Bangkok on mental health tourism. This form of tourism will primarily target city-folk suffering from depression and stress, largely as a result of spending too many hours staring at computer screens. This new market is being studied in order to help designers, suppliers and marketers prepare new products, services and strategies.

Obviously, vacations and relaxation at destination spas or practicing a favorite activity go a long way toward reducing stress. Mental health tourism takes de-stressing a step further, although it's not targeted toward the severely ill. Instead, it will help those who are feeling stressed. Mental health tourism will involve the activation of all five senses to restore the imbalance caused by too many hours interacting with your computer. Japan will conduct further studies to establish the types of activities and facilities required to make mental health tourism effective, which target markets are likely to benefit most, the cost performance of this new segment and how best to make it appeal as a marketable commodity.

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