May 29, 2024

Medical Tourism Market Insights: Global Trends and Opportunities

Medical Tourism Market

Market Overview:

Medical tourism refers to traveling abroad to receive medical treatment. It allows patients to benefit from lower medical costs in foreign countries compared to their home country. Medical tourism patients travel for various treatments such as cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery, dentistry, and cosmetic surgery.

Market Dynamics:

The medical tourism market is witnessing significant growth due to the steep rise in medical travel costs particularly in developed countries. According to the Milliman Global Medical Index, medical costs in the United States grew at a CAGR of 3.7% between 2017-2020 and are expected to increase at a faster pace in the next decade. Similarly, healthcare costs in Western Europe have outpaced inflation rates. This has encouraged patients to seek affordable treatment options abroad. Additionally, improving healthcare infrastructure and facilities along with advanced medical treatments in popular destinations like India, Thailand, and Mexico have further attracted medical travelers from across the globe. Governments of these countries also offer incentives to boost medical tourism. However, issues such as lack of regulations and accreditation, and healthcare disparities pose challenges for the market.

Market Drivers

Low Cost of Medical Treatment in Other Countries is Driving Growth in Medical Tourism

One of the key drivers for the growth of medical tourism is the significantly lower costs of medical treatments in various countries compared to costs in developed nations like the US and Western European countries. For many non-critical and elective surgeries, the costs can be 60-90% lower when undergoing treatment in medical tourism destinations like India, Thailand, Singapore etc. This cost arbitrage is a big motivation for many patients to travel abroad for treatments rather than bearing the high costs in their home countries.

Improving Standards and Quality of Healthcare in Medical Tourist Destinations is Boosting the Industry

Over the past decade, several medical tourist destination countries like Thailand, India, Turkey etc. have invested heavily in upgrading their healthcare infrastructure and facilities. They have established modern multi-specialty hospitals that adhere to international healthcare standards. They have also recruited trained medical professionals from developed nations. As a result, the quality of care being delivered in these countries has improved significantly and is on par with international standards. This has increased confidence among medical tourists regarding the standards and outcomes of treatments received abroad.

Market Restrain

Medical Malpractice and Lack of Recourse is a Challenge Hampering Growth

While costs of treatments are much lower in key destinations, some tourists have raised concerns about lax regulation and accountability in those countries. There have been reported cases of medical errors, misdiagnosis or negligence during treatments that led to adverse outcomes for some patients. However, most nations don’t allow for legal recourse or compensation in case of medical malpractice for foreign patients. This lack of regulatory oversight and inability to seek justice in case of mistakes is a deterrent for some potential medical tourists. Strict malpractice laws and setting up of patients’ right bodies could help address this concern.

Market Opportunity

Rise of Wellness Tourism Presents an Attractive Opportunity

With growing health awareness, wellness tourism has emerged as a major segment within the larger travel and tourism industry. Many medical tourists also want to couple treatments with wellness and preventive health solutions like spa therapies, yoga, Ayurveda etc. Countries could leverage this opportunity by promoting integrated medical and wellness packages. This will help expand the potential set of customers beyond those seeking critical treatments alone. Investing in wellness infrastructure and expertise can help destinations attract a broader customer base and increase per-visitor expenditure on the whole wellness experience.

Market Trends

Growing Popularity of Dental and Cosmetic Surgeries among Medical Tourists

Within medical tourism Market, there is a distinct trend where an increasing number of people are travelling abroad for dental treatments and cosmetic surgeries rather than critical healthcare needs. Dental crowns, root canals, implants etc. can be 50-80% cheaper when done internationally. Similarly, cosmetic procedures like liposuction, tummy tucks, breast augmentations are much more affordable abroad. This has made such elective treatments an attractive choice for medical tourists looking for savings. Destinations need to strengthen their offering in these growing segments through world-class dental and cosmetic clinics to capture this demand.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it