Medical Tourism Market
Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020), Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)
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Massive Cost Benefits to Healthcare Promotes Medical Tourism Market
The global medical tourism market has remained bullish through the years as it continues to facilitate medical solutions at an affordable rate. Cost benefits to healthcare have triggered a shift in way emerging economies are being perceived. The global rise in the number of patients and growing cost of healthcare at a simultaneous pace have fuelled the demand for medical tourism in recent years.
According to Patients Beyond Borders, medical tourism industry is projected to grow by 25% per year over the next decade. In 2018, 14 million medical tourists travelled countries around the world in pursuit of affordable healthcare.
COVID-19 Outbreak Anticipated to be Blessing in Disguise for Long-term Growth of Medical Tourism
The novel Coronavirus has put enormous strain on the healthcare systems world over, completely altering the shape and size of the medical tourism market in erratic ways. Many countries have announced temporary international travel restrictions, which shall completely hamper the growth momentum of health-related tourism and travel.
Many experts feel that once this initial wave of Coronavirus subsides and travel bans are lifted, medical tourism will continue its upward trajectory as a rapidly growing sector. This might come as blessing in disguise for depressed economies by pushing more travellers out the door in search of affordable and accessible healthcare options. Countries that handled the Coronavirus pandemic better will emerge as more desirable medical travel destinations over those that failed to have a timely response.
Globalization to Play a Key Role in Transforming Medical Tourism Industry into a Viable Alternative
All aspects of globalisation viz. economic, social, cultural, and technological have contributed to the growth of medical tourism market. The emergence of patient’s choice and changing forms of consumerism, even in countries that traditionally have public-funded services, have given the medical tourism industry a sizeable impetus. Open access to information and growth of diverse providers competing on quality and price have led to development of solutions for all kinds of medical demands. Also, the lack of availability of treatment in home countries, better quality of treatment overseas, provision of services by specialty medical professionals, faster treatment, and affordability of care are among the key drivers that motivate citizens to seek treatment outside.
There are many “market pull” factors instrumental in shaping patient’s decision to choose health tourism destination. Primary variables are abundance of good doctors and absence of political instability that drives such decision in combination with factors like tourist popularity, medical facility quality, hospital accreditation, healthcare costs, economic stability, and the overall environment of the destination.
Favourable Government Policies Supporting Medical Tourism Destinations
Worldwide, increasing number of governments are recognising the benefits that medical tourism can bring to their economies. They are devising favourable travel and tourism policies to integrate medical tourism as a vital sub-sector.
The Mexican state, of Baja California has implemented a public policy on Health and Wellness, aiming to promote health tourism in a responsible manner, protect patients’ rights and to ensure that all providers of health services are certified. India’s Ministry of Tourism has developed a policy focusing on medical tourism and has introduced a new category of ‘medical visa’. In the United Kingdom, the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) and Online Travel Training (OTT) have signed a partnership agreement with a goal to educate and engage the country’s travel agents in medical tourism.
Medical Tourism Brings Wealth to Developed As Well As Developing Economies Across Continents
The United States is the largest destination market for inbound medical tourism spending in 2019. The U.S. accounts for 36% of global medical tourism spending. France stood second with tourists spending US$800 Mn for medical purposes in 2019. Turkey, Thailand, Jordan, and Costa Rica are also among the largest countries in terms of total inbound medical tourism spending.
Turkey’s strong performance has been supported by sustained government investment into the healthcare sector, low-cost services, well-educated personnel, and focussed marketing campaigns. Similarly, the government in Thailand is boosting medical tourism through investment initiatives including tax exemptions for investment into new health facilities.
The aforementioned six countries, along with Belgium and the United Kingdom, contributed nearly 3/4th of total global medical tourism spending in 2019, indicating the highly concentrated nature of the market dominated by a small number of destination markets.