Health/spa tourism and social and economic regeneration in Mid Wales
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This interpretivist study investigates the case for health/spa tourism as a driver for economic regeneration in Powys, Wales as a sustainable and competitive health/spa tourism destination to answer the following questions. What are the essential ingredients for a sustainable and competitive health/spa tourism destination? What is best practice in implementing major public-private partnership projects? Has Powys got the basic ingredients for a competitive health/spa tourism destination? What would a blueprint for health/spa tourism in Powys look like? What actions would be required of key stakeholders to achieve it? The thesis presents a critical review of literature on destination development, biomedical and bio-psychological models of illness and their relationship to traditional and modern spa practices and stakeholder theory to develop a theoretical framework for a sustainable and competitive health/spa tourism destination. The research adopts a case study methodology involving data collection through semi-structured and unstructured interviews, document and archival analysis, and direct observation. Data collection comprised three key phases. The first phase involved four French case studies - three - Vichy, La Bourboule, Châtel-Guyon - in the Auvergne and the fourth - Saint Malo in Brittany - to determine the applicability of the theoretical framework. The second phase of data collection involved a case study of Bath Spa to explore best practice in implementing major public-private partnerships for economic regeneration. The third phase provided an audit of selected resources in Powys against the framework to determine the feasibility of health/spa tourism as a focus for economic development. The thesis concludes that health/spa tourism would provide an appropriate development path for economic development in Powys and develops a set of recommendations from the best practice case studies into a blueprint for health/spa tourism in Powys and action plan identifying responsibilities for key public and private sector stakeholders in implementation of the blueprint.
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