Outbound Medical Tourism: Industry Overview & Analysis
Posted by Shashii Pawar on March 15th, 2017
Medical tourism is defined as a mobility across international boundaries with the aim to avail medical conduct in some or the other form, depending upon treatment availability in the travellers' home-based country. In this type of tourism, travellers are the people who prefer travelling to different regions to receive service for the treatment of any diseases, an ailment or to undergo any cosmetic surgery. These people are the one who seek high-quality medical services from the experts. This medical conduct includes a wide range of medical treatments such as cosmetic surgery treatment, weight loss treatment, dental treatment, fertility treatment, cardiovascular treatment, cancer treatment and orthopaedic treatment among others. However, the most commonly availed treatments for patients that makes most outbound medical tours includes treatment for cosmetic surgery, dental care, as well as fertility treatment. The main advantage of outbound medical tourism travellers receive is treatment and traveling together. Broadly, there are two kind of patients who practice outbound medical tours – patients requiring critical and less critical but necessary treatment. Key destinations for medical tourism are countries such as India, Thailand, South Korea, UK, Mexico, Barbados, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Iran, France, Turkey, and Germany among others. Most of these countries offer specified treatment for particular medical illnesses. For example, Barbados region is famous for fertility treatment whereas Singapore is well known for cancer treatment and stem cell treatment.
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Outbound Medical Tourism Industry: Drivers
Growth in per capita income and rising awareness about fitness and wellbeing are boosting the demand for outbound medical tourism all over the globe. Majorly, outbound medical tourism is done for cosmetic, dental and weight loss and critical treatments for diseases such as cancer and other heart-related ailments. The primary reason which makes patients cross borders is to get best treatment service for their illness from the experts. The other main factors that motive patients to travel are immediate treatment availability, affordability of medical facilities, and non-availability or low-quality treatment and less skilled service providers in their home country.
Outbound Medical Tourism Industry: Opportunities and Trends
Travel and tourism market is prospering, and travellers prefer the ‘travel with purpose’ concept. This concept is prominent among developed regions whereas there are many untapped regions which are emerging as an opportunity for outbound medical tourism. Moreover, the global population is becoming beauty conscious and do not hesitate in investing on their looks. Till now, outbound medical tourism was considered as a habit of the rich but now mind-set of tourists is shifting. Many treatment centres have come up with a variety of options as well as discounts and easy payment options; this comes up as an opportunity to an extent. From the business point of view, the trend among the treatment centres for collaborating and referring each other’s businesses is hugely practiced. Other prominent trends include a visit of the experts or surgeons to the collaborated hospitals for providing treatment to critical patients.
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Outbound Medical Tourism Industry: Restraints
Although demand in the outbound medical tourism industry is seen significantly, factors such as unclear information about treatment centres, the tours being expensive, and safety issues of the tourists hinder industry growth to an extent. Key factor includes economic factors as some of the treatments are expensive and demand tremendous reliability. In a broad way, medical issues, financial issues, administrative or practical issues, and hesitation from traveling hinders the outbound medical tourism industry to a significant extent.
Outbound Medical Tourism Industry: Options
Some of the major projects of the global outbound medical tourism industry include T Global Medical Tourism Inc., Apollo Hospital Enterprise Limited, Mednamaste, Bumrungrad International Hospital, KPJ Healthcare Berhad, WorldMed Assist, Christus Muguerza Hospital and much more. Some of the abovementioned medical centres are adopting strategies such as medical insurance provision and easy financing schemes; this attracts their outbound medical tourism patients.
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