A new report shows how medical and wellness tourism offer new market opportunities in Las Vegas that can diversify our economy, provide jobs, and spur new economic growth in the tourism and healthcare sectors.
As tourists continue to flock to Las Vegas in record numbers, the “Las Vegas Regional Strategic Plan For Medical & Wellness Tourism” seeks to provide a unified vision to guide Las Vegas’ medical and tourism sectors through specific growth initiatives that will bolster our regional economy.
“This is about taking what our community already does well and collaborating to forge new and unexpected economic opportunities in medical and wellness tourism,” said Tom R. Skancke, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. “We want Las Vegas to better compete in the global economy, and this strategic plan accelerates that effort in the realm of healthcare and tourism.”
For more than a year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, Las Vegas HEALS, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas collaborated with 147 business, community, and nonprofit organizations to craft this shared working document that will serve as a guide to growing our economy through medical and wellness tourism.
“Las Vegas has everything it takes to succeed in this effort. This plan provides a roadmap to become the most globally recognized destination for medical and wellness travel. We are excited about the opportunities and eager to share this strategy with our local, regional and global strategic partners,” said Doug Geinzer, CEO of Las Vegas HEALS.
Stowe Shoemaker, Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration UNLV added, “We are excited to share our knowledge of the art, science, and business of hospitality and gaming to help those in the medical community to make the patient feel not like a number, customer, or patient, but instead a loved family member.
Traditionally, global medical tourism has featured low-cost treatments in foreign countries and expensive, high-quality care at domestic medical providers. This plan offers a third way that capitalizes on Las Vegas’s unique assets in tourism, wellness, and customer service.
“I think there is an assumption that wellness is only defined by things like cholesterol check-ups and executive physicals; that’s the medical aspect of it,” said Cheryl Smith, the LVCVA’s medical and wellness tourism manager and co-author of the report. “But there’s a proactive side, prevention. Our spas contribute to overall health and well-being, stress reduction, and rejuvenation. We offer unique treatments brought here from around the world so it’s a great destination for visitors to experience wellness differently then perhaps they can at home.”
In order to achieve this strategy, our region must grow its medical capacity by supporting the growth of medical education and research, bolstering graduate medical education and clinical trials, and developing ways to recruit more medical meetings, more top-grade medical professionals and specialized medical tourism concierge professionals.
In addition to growing our region’s medical capacity, the report outlines key opportunities in medical and wellness tourism:
Health and wellness meetings and education: position Las Vegas as the global destination for continuing (post-degree) medical and health care education
Medical tourism: Introduce Las Vegas as a medical tourism destination with the intention of positioning Las Vegas as the premier medical tourism destination in the United States and world by 2020
Spa and wellness tourism: Attract more visitors to Las Vegas to participate in health and wellness services and activities, specifically spa and wellness services and outdoor recreational activities
Wellness travel agents and medical facilitators: Identify the role of wellness travel agent and medical facilitators and further identify resources for finding them and introducing Las Vegas in their list of client offerings
Packaging and bundling of services: Explore bundling and package-pricing medical and wellness services Clinical trials: Position Southern Nevada as a global destination for clinical trial research and grow the existing clinical trial industry in the region with an eye toward driving medical tourism through innovative and emerging treatments