The role of tourism in healthy aging: An interdisciplinary literature review and conceptual model
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management
School of Business and Law / Centre for Precision Health
European Commission Horizon / Fangli Hu's CSC (China Scholarship Council) / Edith Cowan University
Rapid aging is already one of the most significant trends of the 21st century, and this demographic shift poses enormous challenges for society. There is a community-wide effort to promote healthy aging, but the role of tourism as an important service industry in this process has been underappreciated. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review, this paper presents a conceptual model suggesting that tourism, as part of a healthy lifestyle, could contribute to healthy aging. Tourism can help older adults to optimize their functional abilities to perform activities of daily living and maintain quality of life through physical, cultural, sporting, and recreational activities, social participation, nutrition, and positive emotions, thereby extending their healthspan. Critical reflections on future interdisciplinary research and implications for eight key stakeholders (i.e., academics, aging tourists, destination operators, tourism and hospitality practitioners, healthcare practitioners, host communities, government, society) are outlined to highlight the big impact and potential of this area.