Medical Tourism: The Integration of Healthcare and Travel & Tourism
Panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and the deep valleys, architectural beauty of historical monuments, or the serene and calm beaches are no longer the only factors that attract tourists across the globe. Availability of cheaper treatment options without compromising on the quality has led to the rapid growth and development of the medical tourism industry. Medical tourism combines the best of two distinct sectors– healthcare and travel & tourism. Despite the practice of traveling to foreign lands for health and medical reasons dating back to a thousand years, the affordable treatment along with cheap travel options and easy access to complete information over the internet has popularized the idea of medical tourism.
Medical tourism, a concept wherein the patients travel across international borders to seek treatment or improve their health through medical or wellness practices, has seen a rise owing to the development of infrastructure and the immense support offered by the governments of developing and developed nations. Earlier, the patients from underdeveloped and developing countries traveled to developed regions in search of better care and facilities. However, the recent years have witnessed a change in trend. The rising cost of healthcare in the developed countries like the U.S. has led to patients seeking cheaper options in emerging countries such as Singapore, Bangkok, and India among others.
According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global medical tourism market, valued at $61,172 million in 2016, is projected to accrue $165,345 million by 2023. The market is expected to exhibit a significant CAGR of 15.0% during 2017–2023. The most frequently availed medical services include elective surgery, cancer treatment, neurological disease treatment, orthopedic treatment, fertility treatment, and others. Novel advertising and marketing strategies and health insurance portability across the globe drive the growth of the medical tourism market.
Recent Trends and Developments in the Medical Tourism Sector
In October 2017, the Government of India launched a website, www.indiahealthcaretourism.com, completely dedicated to providing world-class healthcare facilities to patients from all over the world. The website displays comprehensive information in three additional languages- Arabic, French, and Russian, along with English. The government of the nation aims to promote India as the most credible and sought-after destination for medical tourism by offering treatments that encompass the benefits of Ayurveda, Allopathy, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH).
The World Travel Market (WTM), London 2017, witnessed the launch of Polish spa & wellness centers, medical clinics, and health resorts. In the European region, Poland is emerging as one of the most popular destinations for patients to avail the benefits of high-quality medical services, in addition to the well-trained staff, and equipment with advanced features at a relatively lower cost. Along with dental, spa and beauty treatments, the country has gained widespread popularity for offering rehabilitation, bariatrics, ophthalmology, and several other specialist treatments.
The medical tourism industry in Mexico has gained momentum owing to the unconventional cancer treatments available in the country. The highest market potential is identified in the Asia-Pacific region, due to a rise in the healthcare and research expenditure and quick access to medical facilities.
PR & Marketing Professional at EquipNet, Inc.
Jessica Hamelburg is a content marketing coordinator and social media manager for a global industrial asset management company, EquipNet, Inc. Jessica holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Public Relations from Suffolk University and offers many years of experience in various forms of writing. Some of her favorite hobbies include exploring new music, creative writing and spending time with her dogs.
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