Author: Medical Tourism Magazine
Las Vegas has come a long way since it first established itself as a small desert gambling town more than 100 years ago. Once a destination known for all-you-can-eat buffets, nickel slots and free cocktails, Las Vegas has transformed into the Entertainment Capital of the World featuring top attractions, fine dining, world-class nightlife, phenomenal shopping, stunning shows and unmatched hospitality. Cornering the market on tourism, Las Vegas welcomed a record 39.7 million visitors in 2012, contributing $45 billion in economic impact and supporting nearly half of the jobs in Southern Nevada, Las Vegas is already the world’s most desirable destination for business and leisure travel, and now there’s another market the destination is poised to tackle.
As part of its mission to attract more visitors and more meetings and conventions, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has turned its sights on becoming the top destination for health and wellness travel.
“This is an expanding global market and Las Vegas wants to be a major player,” said Cheryl Smith, LVCVA’s medical and wellness tourism sales manager. “People are initially surprised because historically Las Vegas has not promoted itself as a destination for health and wellness. But, we have a long history of providing wellness, spa, and outdoor adventure services to our visitors.”
Las Vegas boasts more than 45 of the finest resort spas in the world offering thousands of wellness treatments, so it is a natural fit to work with the Las Vegas Spa Association in growing this sector. According to the Global Spa Summit 2011 report, “Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where Do Spas Fit,” wellness tourism represents a $106 billion industry worldwide. Las Vegas is uniquely positioned for this market with a diverse community of dedicated therapists, fitness trainers and other wellness professionals who combine exceptional training with one-of-a-kind environments to create world-class quality spa and wellness experiences for guests.
“Since we live in a fast-paced, high-stress world, spa and wellness treatments have become essential for many people to help provide balance to their hectic lives,” said Jennifer Lynn,
….Wellness tourism represents a $106 billion industry worldwide.
director of The Spa at Mandarin Oriental. “The stress relief provided from a massage can create physical relief, but also provide space for mental clarity and relaxation.”
Recently, there has been a significant amount of research conducted on the medical benefits of massage and body treatments. Studies have shown that massage helps to reduce muscle tension and discomfort caused by physical and emotional stress. The proliferation and variety of Las Vegas spas provide travelers a unique opportunity to create a spa-focused itinerary that allows them to explore signature spa treatments simply by visiting the diverse spas and their unique offerings inspired by cultures from around the world.
Las Vegas spas have a wide variety of culturally diverse wellness treatments that go beyond the traditional massage or facial. The Canyon Ranch Spa Club at the Venetian and Palazzo offers an assortment of services including corporate wellness, pregnancy massage, obesity and weight-loss educational programs, diabetes meal planning, and gait and footwear analysis. A Japanese stone sauna, called “Ganbanyoku” beds, are available at the Spa at ARIA in addition to the therapeutic pool designed for cellulite treatment and the only indoor fitness walking program in Las Vegas combines exercise with an art tour. In the Arctic Ice Room at Caesars Palace’s Qua Spa and Baths, falling snow is designed to relieve stress, and Qua Spa also offers the color therapy called Aura-Soma. The Mandarin Oriental, Drift Spa at Palms Place, and the Cosmopolitan feature Turkish-style Hammams offering ritualized cleansing and relaxation.
Meetings, conferences and trade shows are a critical part of Las Vegas’ local economy supporting nearly 57,000 local jobs with a $6.7 billion economic impact.
“I have noticed a trend in the revival of ancient healing techniques in the spa industry,” Lynn said. “The healing traditions of Thai massage, or traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and acupuncture are becoming popularized in spa menus.”
Las Vegas is home to four Forbes Five-Star spas, which include Encore, Wynn, Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental, as well as five Forbes Four-Star spas including Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Bellagio, Spa Mio at M Resort, the Spa Salon at ARIA and the Spa at Trump International Hotel.
A Las Vegas visitor staying at the unique “Stay Well” suites at the MGM Grand can feel relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated without leaving the room. Developed by a team of health experts, the “Stay Well” suite offers more than a dozen progressive amenities including an advanced room lighting system designed to increase energy levels and minimize and reverse the effects of jet lag. Shower water is infused with vitamin C to neutralize chlorine and promote healthy hair and skin, and an unconventional air purification system helps reduce allergens and toxins in the room resulting in better air quality.
In addition to the “Stay Well” suites, the many restaurants offering vegan and healthy dining options, and the hundreds of wellness services at the resort spas, Las Vegas offers visitors many ways to reinvigorate the body, relax the mind and engage in treatments and services to improve overall health and well-being. The services are also offered in close proximity to each other allowing guests to experience multiple services at different spas during their stay — an experience other destinations can’t match.
As a community built to host visitors, there is no better business value than Las Vegas fitting all budgets and offering limitless options with roughly 150,000 hotel rooms, most of which are conveniently located just a few miles from McCarran International Airport. The average nightly room rate is about $113, making Las Vegas an attractive and affordable option for travelers. Air service is easily accessible with more than 930 flights per day and nonstop service from more than 130 domestic and international cities. With more than 10.7 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space, Las Vegas has the right space for all groups, large or small.
With that in mind, the LVCVA’s health and wellness tourism approach also includes a focus on increasing bookings for healthcare-related conventions and medical meetings. Meetings, conferences and trade shows are a critical part of Las Vegas’ local economy supporting nearly 57,000 local jobs with a $6.7 billion economic impact.
The LVCVA is already experiencing steady success in attracting more health and wellness meetings to the destination. In November, the Medical Tourism Association® hosts the 6th Annual World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress at Caesars Palace. This global conference is attended by representatives from 90 countries bringing together expert speakers to discuss the latest developments in medical tourism and wellness travel. Having the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress in this destination will provide prominent exposure for Las Vegas and assist the destination in building more international business relationships.
People are willing to travel for excellent care and it only makes sense to market Las Vegas as a place to heal.
The American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine (A4M) recently committed to hold its conference for five more years in Las Vegas. A4M is one of the industry’s premier conferences providing medical professionals with the latest anti-aging, regenerative, functional and metabolic medicine research. A4M returns to Las Vegas, in December, holding its conference at the Sands EXPO Center.
LVCVA is also connecting local medical education facilities with show organizers and meeting planners to help them better understand the many options available here for hosting continuing medical education training around their events. The efforts have already seen success as more medical meetings and conventions are now opting to add training days onto their schedules to take advantage of the innovative facilities found here including the Oquendo Center, the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada (MERIN), the Medical Innovations and Training Institute (MITI), the MedCure Nevada Surgical Training Center and the Center for Advanced Professional Education (CAPE). It has meant tremendous exposure for these facilities, which are valuable assets for attracting more meeting business.
Realizing the potential that health and wellness travel can have on the local economy, the LVCVA has also partnered with Las Vegas HEALS, a nonprofit organization made up of 800 healthcare professionals and representatives committed to improving the quality and access of medical care in Southern Nevada. The organization is a way for healthcare providers to learn more about medical travel and become involved.
“It is all about getting healthy, finding the most qualified practitioners and researching the best treatment options to get well and we are educating our medical community about the future value of health and wellness travel,” said Doug Geinzer, CEO of Las Vegas HEALS. “People are willing to travel for excellent care and it only makes sense to market Las Vegas as a place to heal.”
Patients from around the world are traveling to several specialized medical centers located here including the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, The Sher Fertility Institute of Las Vegas, Cenegenics, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers of America, for treatment. Las Vegas HEALS is working to enhance the quality of medical care in Southern Nevada and lay the foundation for expanding medical tourism even further.
Through their work with event organizers, Las Vegas HEALS can provide opportunities for local physicians and medical professionals to attend these global conferences often at a discount, allowing them to receive additional training and education on the latest procedures and medical breakthroughs without leaving town. At this year’s A4M’s conference, show organizers will offer local medical professionals a reduced rate and allow medical students enrolled in health education programs at local universities to attend for free.
This positions Las Vegas well as a destination that continues to emerge as a health and wellness marketplace with a growing list of health and wellness care options for visitors including preventative health, alternative medicine, dental care, age management services, infertility treatment, and surgical services, such as cosmetic, orthopedic, cardiac and bariatric and neurosurgery.
Las Vegas has evolved tremendously in recent years, and continues to capture the world’s imagination as the one destination where nearly anything is possible. LVCVA believes the destination has the foundation and the vision to become a leader in health and wellness travel.