How many of us are comfortable with the idea of visiting a new place with an itinerary of a surgery in the middle of your vacation. Maybe many won’t fancy it. But if market research is to be believed worldwide the medical tourism is growing at the rate of 25-30% year after year.
Why is it becoming popular?
Medical tourism is travel planned by the patient from a developed nation to a lesser developed nation to get some medical help. Patients particularly opt for a city where they can take pleasure in what the place has to offer along with the medical treatment. If historians are to be believed, the medical tourism started 1000 years back when Greece pilgrims crossed the Mediterranean to reach Epidauria which housed the healing god Asklepios.
Earlier the patients would go to the States or European countries to get medical treatment for reasons like better medical facilities, new scientific technologies and the beauty of the place. But things have changed now; it’s the Western countries that are coming to get themselves treated. The countries that host medical tourism are India, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Costa Rica, Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand etc. There are numerous reasons which boost the tourism. Firstly the treatments are cheaper than their home countries; secondly there is an exotic tag attached to these countries which lures them. Thirdly being privacy, patients can discreetly get their cosmetic surgeries done. And sometimes the required treatments are not available in their country.
A market report states medical tourism market is worth $40 – $60 billion. Everyone from the hospitals to the tour operators are catching on the lucrative business. Not only host hospitals have tie ups with other hospitals which further boosts the economy. Some Employers are giving their employees this package of vacation + treatment as its cost saving for them. Experts believe that this tourism has equal pros and cons. When the economy of the country is increasing there are high possibilities that medical tourists may be more susceptible to infections as a result of their health problems, or that they may encounter unknown bacteria for which they have not developed immunities which could be fatal.
Traditional tourism has evolved and medical tourism industry is slowly but steadily increasing their foothold. So now it is open to us whether we are ready to make the dentist’s clinic our next holiday destination.