Introduction. Apparently medicine and tourism have represented for a while distinct domains, both in terms of research and even in popular culture. While medicine is widely known as dedicated exclusively to healing and treating patients suffering from various diseases, tourism, popular since ancient times in relation to healing, is based on a person’s motivation towards obtaining a pleasant experience in optimal conditions that already require the existence of a good state of health. Considering the emergence of new challenges in medicine, mostly in terms of demand, there is a phenomenon of directing preferences or needs in order to obtain medical services in a relaxing touristic environment. Due to the rapid development of medical tourism, we consider opportune to study this phenomenon, both from the perspective of a social and economic impact and from the need to reorganize the tourism activity, emphasized with new forms and modern concepts.
Material and method. As a limited number of research can be found related to medical tourism, and generally covers travelling for medical treatments or interventions, and also a few publications are dealing with theoretical aspects of this form of tourism, the main purpose of the article is to bring a scientific contribution to the global field of medical tourism, especially regarding the tourist expectations and attitudes towards an internal medical tourism offer. Using a quantitative research methodology, we aimed to achieve the following secondary objectives: identifying the interest, intention and reasons of respondents to practice medical tourism, establishing the level of confidence in the medical specialization of certain cities, assessing the level of knowledge and general perception on a treatment specifics in spa resorts structured in galaxy clusters.
Results and discussions. Focusing on both national and international research, we have reached the conclusion that there is a lack of specific statistical indicators to analyze or compare the phenomenon of medical tourism. The shortcomings that are considered in the research may be caused mainly by inconsistencies of defining different concepts related to medical tourism or the confusion generated by the use of terms specific to medical or health tourism. Thus, the main objective of our research is to identify relevant aspects regarding the values, perception and attitudes of potential domestic medical tourists towards Romania’s medical tourism offer.
Conclusions. There are certain limitations to our research, but it can surely become a basis for further developments regarding galaxy clusters and their impact in relation to a tourist’s needs.