Health tourism is a term for travellers that focus on medical treatments and also the use of treatment services. It covers a good field of health-oriented tourism starting from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitation and curative varieties of travel. Eudaimonia tourism is a connected field.
The prime driving factors in medical tourism are increased medical costs, increased insurance premiums, increasing number of uninsured or partially insured individuals in developed countries, long waiting lists for procedures in countries having public healthcare system, availability of high quality services etc.
The effects of COVID-19 have been extraordinary and devastating, with medical tourism demand for healthcare services suffering across all regions as a result of the epidemic.
Data Bridge Market Research analyses that the Health Tourism market is growing at a CAGR of 15.55% in the forecast period of 2022-2029 is likely to reach USD 269,227.46 million in 2029.
The growing developments and technologies in the field of healthcare is the major factor accelerating the growth of the health tourism market. Furthermore, rapid access to general medical and dental care, access to procedures are not available in home country, and price arbitrage and growing geriatric population are also expected to drive the growth of the health tourism market. However, high treatment cost and lack awareness about insurance restrains the health tourism market, whereas, lack of professional challenge market growth.
According to the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), every year around 14 million people globally travel to other countries for medical care. Drastic advancements in the healthcare industry by the launch of medical devices and non-invasive surgery procedures are major factors responsible for increased tourism for medical procedures globally. Medical tourism has gained traction in the last few years among the high-income countries such as the US.
According to Mckinsey and Company report, 40% of the people travel to countries to seek medical care owing to the availability of advanced technology coupled with highly trained professionals. This shift is also due to the factor that patients require quick medical service without a lengthy waiting period.
According to a Mckinsey and Company survey, 40% of people travel abroad for medical care due to the availability of cutting-edge technology and highly skilled personnel. This shift is also a result of the fact that patients now expect prompt medical care without a protracted wait.
Moreover, owing to the availability of lower-cost treatment for various conditions such as knee replacement, dental, cosmetics among others in the countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, etc., are proliferating the potential of medical travel market value in these countries. For example, Singapore received 500, 000 medical tourists annually while half of the tourists are from Indonesia. Therefore, the growing rate of medical tourists coupled with demand for medical and cosmetic procedures is anticipated to gain growth during the forecast period.
Lower Cost Care for Surgeries to Accelerate Market Growth
The rise in the healthcare cost in developed countries is resulting in a burden on the healthcare providers as well as patients. Also, regulations imposed on the healthcare system by the government in several countries lead to delays of the procedures. This has urged people to travel abroad for medical care. According to the Medical and Health Tourism Congress (MHTC), medical treatment is cheaper in Asian countries than private hospitals in the US. For example, a heart bypass surgery in Thailand would cost USD 13,000 as compared to USD 113,000 in the US.
Therefore, a higher rate of inbound health tourism in countries such as India, Thailand among others for quick and lower-cost medical care is contributing to the increased number of surgeries. Additionally, lower cost for advanced surgeries is the primary reason attributable to the market growth. According to the Apollo Hospitals, a hip replacement surgery in Thailand costs around USD 7,800 as compared to USD 50,000 in the US.
Expansion of Inbound Medical Travel to Raise Market Potential Health tourism
Growing technological advancements in the healthcare industry in terms of medical devices, surgical procedures, wearables, connected healthcare, etc., have brought the world closer to adopting better medical facilities for value-based care. Information and communication technology, telemedicine, and telehealth has opened doors for patients worldwide to consult doctors, book appointments, and receive quality care without hesitation.
Some of the major players operating in the Medical Tourism market:
- Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.,
- Fortis Healthcare,
- Asian Heart Institute,
- KPJ Healthcare Berhad.,
- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation,
- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp.
- SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL,
- Prince Court Medical Centre,
- ADITYA BIRLA HEALTH SERVICES LTD.,
- Infectious Disease Specialists,
- Samitivej PCL
North America dominates the health tourism market in terms of market share and market revenue and will continue to flourish its dominance during the forecast period. This is due to the increasing levels of investment for the development of advanced technologies in medical care and general medical in this region.
Asia-Pacific on the other hand is projected to exhibit the highest growth rate during the forecast period due to presence of tourism destination where people preferred to roam during vacation.
Europe accounted for the leading position in the market owing to the growing medical infrastructure and facilities for medical tourists in the countries such as Spain, U.K., France, Belgium, etc. Though the pandemic led to disruptions in travel and tourism in 2020 resulting in a decline in the number of tourist visits in the European region, some countries have now started programs full-fledged to provide better facilities and services. For example, in May 2021, Spain announced the opening of the country borders for vaccinated medical travelers to promote tourism for medical procedures in the country. This is anticipated to give a boost to the country’s medical travel value during the forecast period.
The top ten medical tourism destinations are Japan, Korea, the US, Taiwan, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, Thailand and India.