Medical tourism is a thriving industry that has increased massively in terms of popularity over the years. It refers to the travel of patients from one country to another in order to seek medical attention. The main factor of the rise of this industry is the continuous upsurge in the cost of medical treatment in big countries such as the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK). According to a study conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 0.75 -1.6 million people from the USA travel out of the country for medical care to avoid high treatment costs.
People tend to travel to other European and Asian countries where they could get treated at a much lesser cost as healthcare providers don’t charge as much. Traditionally, people from high-income countries take a trip to middle and low-income countries seeking health care at a lower price. And with the growing wealthy class in developed countries and easy access to the internet, people from all around the globe are traveling for advanced treatments.
Data from a McKinsey and Company report indicates that 40% of these patients seek advanced technology procedures, 32% seek better medical care and attention. 15% search for an immediate medical service without a long waiting list and the remaining 13% consider the lower economic cost as the primary reason behind traveling abroad for treatment.
The term might seem new to you but it has been followed for many years. The advances in modern medicine, communication, and transportation in today’s world have boosted this industry even more and it should be no surprise if, in coming years, it gets even more popular.
According to multiple studies online, at least 20 million people per year opt for health tourism to receive cheaper and superior quality medical care. The size of the global wellness market is also expanding.
One of the most favorite destinations in European countries considering the high quality of services, availability of conventional medical techniques, use of advanced technologies and equipment. As per reports in the Market data forecast, the worth of the health tourism industry in Europe currently stands at USD 7.26 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow by 18.9% and reach USD 17.26 billion in 2026.
If we look globally, the global medical tourism market was worth nearly USD $61.2 billion in 2016 and the market is expected to reach a total of USD $165.3 billion by 2023, growing at a significant CAGR of 18.8% (according to a recent report from Allied Market Research).
The reason behind this drastic growth also involves the recovery from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has restricted traveling around the globe. The preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease forced countries to implement rules such as remote working, social distancing, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.
The success in health tourism includes the revenues generated by healthcare service providers by treating the patients coming from across the international borders.