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Health and Wellness Experience – Motivations and Positive Effects

    Session Title: Health and wellness experience – Motivations and positive effects
    Speaker: Joana Alegria Quintela, Professor, Universidade Portucalense
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    Session description: This presentation will be based on my most recent research on Health and Wellness Tourism. The goals of this research work consist in identifying the main motivations of users of Thermal Spas, ascertaining the preferences regarding the offered services and evaluating the positive effects perceived by these users through the Health and Wellness Experience (HWE). Based on this study, it will be possible to answer some of the most important questions of this summit, namely: How can I improve my wellbeing?; How does that make me feel?; How do you achieve wellness?; How do you maintain health and wellness?; How do you maintain wellness in the emotional, intellectual, mental, social dimensions? and What is the role of wellness? This research was developed in Portugal and Hungary, two European destinations with an ancestral tradition in Health and Wellness Tourism due to the abundance of thermal spas. The empirical data were collected through the administration of a survey to users of twelve Spas and thermal baths. From the 1000 questionnaires distributed, 753 were considered valid for analysis. To evaluate the HWE was used a measurement scale composed of 15 physical, psychological and emotional states, defined according to previous studies developed in this area, which the respondents rated each of these states, before and after using the health and wellness services, using a five-point Likert scale. The statistical treatment of the data revealed the users’ main motivations, their preferences on Thermal Spas services offered and the (positive) benefits achieved through the HWE. Despite some differences between the two cases, we may conclude that HWE represents an effective contribution to the improvement of psychological, physical and emotional states, namely for relaxation. The study also provides contributions that can be applied to marketing strategies based on this statement. The development of campaigns encouraging the regular use of wellness services, may also contribute to improve the consumption of health and wellness products.

    Bio: Joana Alegria Quintela has a European PhD in Tourism and a MSc in Tourism Management and Development from the University of Aveiro. She occupied several positions in hospitality industry, namely in Spa business, in Portugal and abroad. She worked as Program Coordinator, Consultant and Professional Trainer in Tourism and Hotel Management. Presently, she is Assistant Professor at University Portucalense (Porto, Portugal). She is an integrated member of the research unit REMIT – Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies and an external member of GOVCOPP – Competitiveness, Governance and Public Policies at University of Aveiro (Aveiro, Portugal). She has participated in national and international conferences since 2009 and she has been publishing several scientific papers, books chapters and opinion articles on specialized tourism publications. She is also a member of the editorial and scientific boards of academic national journals, as well as guest editor. She participates as Coordinator and member of some ERASMUS + projects. Her research interests focus on health and wellness tourism, with specific emphasis on marketing, sustainability, happiness and quality of life.