Medical tourism is rapidly growing, as people are deciding to go abroad for medical services such as: plastic surgery, dental work and more, according to experts at Berlin’s ITB travel fair.
According to a recent study by Visa and Oxford Economics, billions per year are made in the health tourism industry and that number is expected to increase by 25% within the next decade.
Julie Munro, president of the Medical Travel Quality Alliance, which produces a ranking of the 10 best hospitals for medical tourists, attributes health tourism’s revenue increase to the internet. She stated that because of the internet, middle class citizens from countries that lack high-quality healthcare “know that there are treatments out there for them.”. Medical tourism isn’t exclusive to people from wealthier nations traveling to less expensive countries, or just the wealthy, it is now more accessible to everyone.
Patients search for medical services in other countries to avoid waiting lists or because the care is either unavailable in their home countries or too expensive. The United States, Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Spain, and Germany see both inflowing and outflowing revenue as a result of medical tourism.
“You have medical tourism, really, globally,” Thomas Boemkes of marketing firm and ITB partner Diversity Tourism stated.
“For example, you have a lot of Germans going to Poland or Croatia doing dental care because it is cheaper. But also a lot of Russians and Arabians coming to Germany because we have high-quality hospitals and care they don’t have in their countries. We work with travel agencies and offer complete packages…including pick-up from airports, said Jacco Vroegop, head of clinics in Amsterdam and Frankfurt for ophthalmology network Worldeye. Worldeye says they treat approximately 50,000 patients for 107 countries annually.” Boemkes further stated.
The options are endless with medical tourism: ranging from dental care to plastic surgery; reproductive medicine; cancer/heart treatments; and more.
While the pros to medical tourism involve a getaway and lesser costs, Munro warns that one con patients may face is “over-diagnosis” in hopes to increase patients’ bills.
Whether you’re a medical practitioner seeking a getaway whilst pursuing your career or a patient seeking some real rest and relaxation, this growing field is definitely one worth looking into.