The concept of medical tourism has been around for centuries and usually involved wealthy Europeans and Asians travelling to exotic destinations to take advantage of mostly mineral springs, which was thought to have curative powers. This type of travel was sporadic and exclusive to the wealthy few in these societies for the obvious reasons of cost and the length of time that it took to get to some of these medical tourism destinations. The dynamic today has to a large extent changed, and medical tourism is now a multi-billion dollar business, we will examine some of the reasons for the growth of this niche market in the tourism industry and explain why this growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Super savings to patients
One of the major factors fuelling the growth of medical tourism is the tremendous savings that patients enjoy when they choose a foreign country for their medical treatments. It is estimated that savings range from anywhere between 20 and 80% for a surgery done in a developing country like India when compared to developed countries such as England and the United States. Several patients from these developed countries choose to travel to countries such as India, Mexico, Brazil or Thailand for their medical treatments to take advantage of the huge savings. The medical facilities in these developing countries are also five-star and fully accredited by International medical organisations and have a good track record of service and patient care making them very appealing to patients who want the best care at the best price.
Now waiting lists
One of the challenges faced by patients in countries such as the UK, The United States, Canada and a host of other countries is being placed on a waiting list for sometimes life-saving surgery. The growth of medical tourism now allows these patients to jump on a plane and get their operations done immediately! This is one of the ways that providers of medical tourism are promoting themselves and this level of convenience augurs well for the growth of the industry and also for better general patient care.
When you think about doing surgery in a developing country, you might wonder if the Surgeons are good enough and the answer is that they generally are. Most of the Surgeons in the medical tourism facilities are internationally trained and sometimes might even know your doctor at home! They are trained to the highest standards and have the best medical equipment for the job; you can rest assured that you will be handled by an experienced Surgeon who can treat you just as well as your medical practitioner at home.
Opportunity to do advanced treatments
Some medical procedures are not available in developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom for reasons such as lack of approval from the governing medical agencies in these countries. Some of these procedures include stem cell surgery and restorative orthopaedic procedures such as hip replacement. Some patients are willing to take the risk of going to a country that will conduct these treatments to save or improve the quality of their lives.
An increasing number of people are choosing to do medical treatments abroad because of the opportunity to combine the treatment with a vacation. Depending on the severity of the medical treatment, patients might be able to explore thrilling attractions and have a full-fledged vacation! If they are not able to, they can at least recover in a luxurious resort setting in an exotic country!
Finally, medical tourism is here to stay and will continue to grow in popularity, due to the significant benefits that it affords to patients. This is a niche market that destinations can pursue to improve their earnings and status in the dynamic tourism industry.