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Global travel spending: What does it mean for medical travel?

July 27, 2013

Image Source: talkzimbabwe.com


The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism, reveals that global tourism grew by four percent in 2012. Totaling US$1,075 billion, travel spending suggests concomitant growth in the medical travel industry. Simply, the health and wellness sector derives growth from increased spending in tourism.

Among the emerging economies, Thailand (+25%) reported the highest growth in its tourism sector. It is closely followed by India (+22%), South Africa (+18%), Vietnam (+18%), Egypt (+14%), Poland (+13%), and Ukraine (+13%). While there is no separate research to determine medical travel figures, logically, growth medical tourism could only follow growth in global tourism. Among world cities, Bangkok has been cited the most visited country for health and wellness purposes.



More about medical travel in emerging economy destinations

Thailand expects to earn US$8 billion in medical travel dollars from 2010 to 2014. The country is home to Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital, a 22-floor institution with over 30 specialty centers. It accepts over a million local and international patients per year.

Meanwhile, India also has an extensive healthcare system, which is guided by the principle: “The guest is God.” Surgical treatments in India are far more affordable than those in the US. For instance, a heart valve replacement costing $200,000 in the US will cost between $10,000 to 14,000 in New Delhi.

These are the added benefits travelers get, apart from their tourist experience. Hence, to the burgeoning global tourism industry has resulted in an acute awareness that healthcare cannot be monopolized by a single country. Increased travel spending for health reasons also implies a reversal of popular wisdom: cheap doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality.


Image Source: miami.medicaltourism.com


Satori World Medical arranges medical travels to emerging health and wellness havens such as Thailand, Mexico, and Turkey. This website provides more information.

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