Report: The impact of medical tourism on international tourism
Tourism has developed into an international phenomenon where people travel both domestically and internationally with increasing frequency. People travel for a variety of reasons, including business, leisure, family and adventure. However due to developments in technology and the impacts of globalisation - creating a more connected world, new segments of the tourism market are being created. One of these new segments is medical tourism. Medical tourism is defined as international travel for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in a chosen country. Medical tourism is most prominent in Asian countries, such as India, Thailand and Singapore, with 89% of all medical tourists travelling to these countries in 2010 (Eden, 2012). Medical tourism is beneficial to destination countries as it provides significant opportunities to boost the economies of these developing countries. Medical tourism is having a major impact on international tourism predominantly due to its creation of a large new tourism segment for some developing countries.
However it has had a more recent impact due to its reversal of the former market. Furthermore the boom in medical tourism has also led to the creation of new tourist destinations.
Past trends of medical tourism involved people traveling from less developed countries to developed countries with specialised medical facilities for medical treatment that was unavailable in their own country. However, as technology and globalisation have developed, this trend has been reversed, with people now travelling from developed countries to developing countries for medical treatment. This can be attributed to the significantly lower costs of medical procedures in developing countries. For example a knee replacement in the US would cost a patient $48,000 USD, while having the procedure in India would cost only $8,000 USD (OECD, 2011), as shown in figure 1. Additional...