Have Med Spa? Will Travel: Wellness Tourism on the Rise


Clients are embracing the growing medical spa market, giving way to a surge of medical tourism as wellness firms up its place in the industry. Customized spa experiences, recovery services and financial leveraging are driving client desire for more comprehensive travels.

The same elements that made the U.S. med spa market worth $3.6 billion (in 2016) attract potential tourists: personalized procedures, combination of health and leisure and innovative techniques draw clients in from around the globe. Non-esthetic physicians and practices are breaking into the market as well, offering post-procedure spa and wellness treatments to draw in patients.

Looking for Luxurious Experiences

The relaxing connotations of a spa do not go unnoticed—according to Alan Durkin, M.D., M.S., most of the tourist traffic at his practice, Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery, comes from groups of women in pursuit of a luxurious experience to enjoy together. Located in Florida, an average of 30% of Durkin's patients come from out of state.

"They want their plastic surgery to be an experience, not just a procedure. They want to come and open up a relationship with their plastic surgeon. ...They're trying to create a relationship to form a philosophy of care moving forward," said Durkin.

As with the general medical tourism trend, budget and availability play a role in increased wellness tourism—an esthetic procedure done in a densely populated area may cost a fraction of the price if performed in a less populated location. In addition, patients are willing to cross state lines for proprietary techniques that certain spas may offer.

Who Travels for Med Esthetics?

Gender is also key: Despite rising numbers in male med spa clients, "men probably won't go across the street for a spa," according to Durkin, women travel for esthetic procedures to partake in the spa environment and to treat themselves to a vacation.

Common medical spa travel plans include:

  • Spa parties with groups of clients
  • Non-invasive procedures
  • Spa therapies
  • Fitness sessions
  • Sleep management
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Custom massages

For more on wellness tourism, visit  drprem.com (source).

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