There has been considerable growth in interest in the field of travel medicine and the intersection with Tourism Studies since the 1990s. Yet this interest from a medical perspective is not new as a review of The Lancet, one of the most well-established medical journals, shows. What is new is the way in which the interest in travel medicine has developed across the science-social science divide and has now become one strand of a wider practitioner and academic interest in tourist well-being. With the exception of studies on technology and tourism and environmental science and tourism (e.g. climate change), this science-social science intersection has been comparatively absent from research in Tourism Studies. For this reason, this current issue's paper seeks to broadly outline the evolution of this area of study and some of the influential studies published to date along with some of the research agendas now emerging in this new area of study. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.