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Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 265–290 | Cite as

Assessment of wellness tourism development in Hokkaido: a multicriteria and strategic choice analysis

  • João RomãoEmail author
  • Kazuo Machino
  • Peter Nijkamp
Perspectives on Spatial Dynamics: Cities, Culture and Environment

Abstract

New lifestyles in contemporary mobile and leisure societies are changing the way people deal with their health, inter alia by attaching an increasing importance to wellbeing and preventive behavior, along with growing concerns on environmental sustainability and with an interest in unique and authentic place-based experiences. This dynamics has far reaching implications for tourism, with wellness products and services showing a significant growth over the past decades, on top of the general growth in tourism services. With a long historical tradition and abundant natural resources potentially related to health and wellness services, the region of Hokkaido (Japan) offers a variety of relevant services in this field. Nevertheless, perhaps new complementary products and services related to health and wellness may be added to the current supply, enlarging the value chain of this sector, with potentially high positive economic and social impacts on the region. Based on interviews and surveys among experts and relevant stakeholders in this field, this paper analyses the potential development and foreseeable impact of wellness services in Hokkaido, by combining different decision-making techniques (multicriteria and strategic choice analysis), with a view to policy recommendations for an integrative diversification of products and services, assuming the onsen (traditional Japanese bath) experience as the core element of tourism supply. In this context, a strategic orientation to external markets seems to be more effective.

Keywords

Sustainable tourism Regional development Integrative diversification Wellness Multicriteria analysis Strategic choice analysis 

JEL Classification

R11 D81 L83 

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Copyright information

© The Japan Section of the Regional Science Association International 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and EconomicsUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Graduate School of Economics and Business AdministrationHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Tinbergen InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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