Over the next five years around a dozen new private hospitals and clinics aimed at ‘health-tourism’ will open, tripling the current number of available beds.
Treatments such as massages, thalassic therapy, shiatsu, acupuncture and Vichy baths are just a few of the most popular treatments available from 20 five-star hotel spas in the Algarve.
At present, ‘health-tourism’ is limited to five-star establishments, which essentially offer natural treatments and do not incorporate traditional medicine.30 per cent of clients using five-star spa treatments are Portuguese, the remaining 70 per cent being mainly German, American, English, Scottish, Dutch and Spanish.
Generally, tourists prefer treatments incorporating plants, water or seawater, aromatherapy, relaxing massages or Chinese-based medicine. Indian Ayurvedic massages, Hawaiian Lomi-lomi and Japanese Shiatsu treatments are also growing in popularity.
António Pina of the Algarve ERTA Tourism Board believes there is a future in traditional health tourism, describing the Algarve as a perfect destination, “ With our climate, we have all conditions necessary to attract this type of tourist. The aim is to tie in conventional medical treatments with hotel accommodation for the patient/tourist and their family.”