Health tourism is attracting the growing interest of scholars and practitioners; however, little is still known about its distinguishing attributes and implications. As a consequence, the rhetoric of health tourism usually prevails over its reality. Drawing on secondary data collected from a nationwide survey, this article aims at shedding light on the reality of health tourism in Italy. A stereotype logistic regression model was designed to identify the socio-demographic factors which have triggered Italian tourists’ propensity to combine tourism with health needs. The study findings suggest that health tourism in Italy is in its infancy. It primarily consists of domestic travel, which is thought to add to the widening of the north–south divide. Health tourists generally prefer brief trips and urban contexts. Tailored policy and management interventions are needed to steer the development of health tourism across Italy.
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