Marca Andorra Observatory: “Health destination challenge”

In this long process of economic and social transformation of our country that started a few years ago, it is worth highlighting the commendable effort that has been made to focus on the most obvious things that characterize us, such as our natural environment and the quality of life that radiates. This asset, which includes mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, fauna, flora or simply the pure air we breathe, has already attracted a multitude of residents, tourists, sportsmen, and above all, a whole series of initiatives that have already incorporated into our economy and that are part of a mountain ecosystem that gives a clear uniqueness to the offer that we as a country project towards the outside.

This Observatory, which tries to analyze precisely how this projection of the messages we launch from Andorra evolves in order to impact the will of those who view us from the outside, now wants to focus on the potential that can have health and well-being tourism for our country as another energizing tool for economic diversification and development of the country brand within this mountain ecosystem.

In this area we identify as the most relevant initiative in the country, the “Andorra Health Destination”, an Andorran association promoted and supported by Andorra Business, that is made up of several specialized medical, beauty and SPA centers as well as hotels and wellness centers of the country. Specifically, there are currently a total of 17 companies that offer 43 experiences, all aimed at attracting tourists interested in taking care of their bodies and minds. This association, however, focuses on three major areas of medical and therapeutic treatments, sports medicine and thermal wellness, and the truth is that if you take a tour discovering everything what’s offered, there is no doubt that a hub has been created of services of differential quality in the field of health and well-being that can be potentially attractive if they are properly disseminated and promoted.

Now, one thing is the good intentions that come from this initiative, and another is that it really ends up having the impact that is sought in the short term. We are talking about the concept of “health” and all that it implies and in this sense you only need to go to the offer of our neighbors such as the Barcelona Medical Destination, to realize the true dimension of the competition, which brings together the most various specialties, the most innovative technology and medical centers of international prestige, in an environment of excellence, of high-level medical training and research and development, additionally adorned by a leisure, cultural and gastronomic offer that we all know.

The comparison would not do justice to the effort made so far by Andorra, but it serves us as a basis for designing and promoting our particular “challenge” or a dare thinking about the development of a medical hub as a basis for a future differential and successful health and wellness tourism.

Let’s start with the training. Not long ago, an authorized person in the country’s health world told me that Andorra has undergone a very important process of transformation of the health system and that the “icing on the cake” would be a university educational initiative focused on health sciences, which would come to strengthen research and the development of new technologies applied to it. The same person also added “the world of sport” as an element linked closely to the development of health, both at a palliative and preventive level and with a special focus on high performance.

Both topics have already been discussed in my articles a few weeks ago when talking about potential dynamiser of our economy such as sporting events (Marca Andorra Observatory: The “festival” of sport, the high sports performance at height (Marca Andorra Observatory: sport as a distinctive value or the university training (Marca Andorra Observatory: University online VS offline.

 It is necessary, however, to put the five senses into it so that initiatives linked to the development of the health and sports sciences take shape and take root in the country, thinking on the one hand, in an internal key, because it would help to face with solvency the deficiencies resulting from the lack of medical practitioners in certain specialties, and which could be combated with an offer as a health hub that encourages teaching, research and the general development of medicine at the highest level, and on the other hand, in an external key, generating an international reputation capable of attracting talent in said fields. The same can be said of the high-performance sports at height developed at the top level and with centers that are an international reference, as we have already explained.

This potential hub could finally be completed with the installation in the country, as was already projected, of reference pharmaceutical laboratories, and why not, speaking of health tourism, let’s think about what would really be missing from the whole offer that currently exists: a project that would really specialize in a global and integrative way of proactive health and well-being management, that could go far beyond the traditional comprehensive health checks at a preventive level, the famous medical check-ups that take place at prestigious medical centers like the ones we mentioned earlier talking about Barcelona and its health tourism offer. A large center that generated the “Andorra Health and Wellness Brand” and that gave us international exposure such as the Gran Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland, or the Sha Wellness Clinic in Alicante, or the California Health & Longevity Institute or the Canyon Ranch Wellness Ressorts also in the USA. We imagine a center that works on anti-aging, nutrition, emotional management, physical exercise, genomics, longevity and imaging diagnostics, among other subjects, and all perfectly packaged in a differential tourist product.

The message I ultimately want to convey is that in order to achieve a solid international reputation in health and wellness tourism, it is necessary to strengthen these concepts to reach the highest level of excellence and this can contribute greatly to both the development training in health and sports sciences, as well as the research and development of new technologies linked to these sectors, as well as the attraction and establishment of prestigious pharmaceutical laboratories and medical clinics specialized in preventive and integrative medicine.

By now we may be closer to a “well-being tourism” than to a complete “health tourism”, but we must face the described future challenge and be ambitious and think

big, because Andorra meets all the requirements to become a reference at an international level, but to be one we need to think about what we still lack.

We should be proud of the work done so far and of the health and wellness tourism offer that the country has, both that which is included in the Andorra Health Destination and that is not, but which is also a part of the overall country offer. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, the competition is tough, and the challenge very important.

By Pere Augé, CEO and Founding Partner of Augé Holding Group


Tel. +376 80 36 36

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