Health and well-being in Tourist destinations. 2012-2014

WelDest is a collaborative research project in conjunction with higher education institutions in Finland, Germany and Austria along with a private regional development company in Austria. It is funded by the European Union Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme. 

The research seeks to answer the central question: How can a destination be developed into a health and well-being destination?

The aim of the research is to create a development framework to be used by public bodies, destination management organizations (DMOs) and private companies at tourism destinations willing to strengthen the elements influencing the well-being level of tourists and local people alike. The framework, supported by educational material, enables development of the tourism destination towards a more holistic and sustainable health and well-being destination.

UCB continues to investigate, via research, the key service supply, resources, staff competencies and elements of health and well-being at tourist destinations appreciated by both tourists and locals. Research was conducted on: tourists, managers of local health and well-being tourism companies, managers/experts of destination development organisations, environmental administration, health care administration and policy makers. 

Additionally, research was undertaken on the identification of key indicators to strengthen the potential for business opportunities in tourism and leisure and to foster innovation around health and well-being based services and destination development.

In 2014 the UCB project team, led by Harprit Thacker and Paul Bamber, contributed to the development of an electronic handbook “Keys to developing a holistic health and well-being tourism destination” (working title), including a self-assessment and development tool, to be used by public and private bodies developing their businesses and destinations. 

On completion of the research, it is envisaged that target groups, such as customers, health and well-being and tourism service suppliers, DMOs, and policy makers will have a better understanding of what constitutes a health and well-being destination.

WelDest project seminar took place at Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland, in September 2014 at Lemminkäisenkatu Campus. The two-day seminar attended was aimed at health and well-being tourism industry, academics, students and public. The first seminar day had a more scientific approach with key notes and paper presentations whilst the second day introduced Weldest results and the eHandbook as well as case studies beneficial to the industry.