The global medical tourism market size is expected to reach USD 179.6 billion by 2026, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., registering a 21.9% CAGR during the forecast period. Medical tourism generates direct foreign exchange income and contributes to the overall development of any economy. It also provides employment and business opportunities for residents. Moreover, it aids the growth of associated businesses such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and tourism. Government support to maintain the general reputation and political stability of the host country is a key factor driving the medical tourism market.
Government authorities are willing to invest in local enterprises to capitalize on the growth of medical tourism. Such government bodies have been authorizing projects that help in the overall development of infrastructure in a country, such as public transport system and water supply facilities, to attract high-end medical travelers.
Medical tourism has led to a rise in state-of-the-art medical facilities in developing countries to attract foreign nationals, resulting in fast growth of healthcare infrastructure in such countries. Moreover, healthcare providers now offer comprehensive medical tourism packages that include services ranging from ticket booking to hotel stay and medical insurance.
Thailand dominated the market in terms of revenue in 2018 owing to low cost and good quality medical services offered in the country. In 2016, Thailand ranked 18th in the International Healthcare Research Center’s Medical Tourism Index. Moreover, the country ranked 13th on the same index in terms of quality of facilities and services provided owing to well-developed healthcare infrastructure and increasing number of medical professionals. Thailand is also home to Asia’s first largest private hospital, Bumrungrad International Hospital, which is also the first hospital to receive a JCI accreditation and ISO 9001 certification. Till date, over 53 private hospitals have received JCI accreditation.
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Further key findings from the report suggest:
- While Thailand is popular for cosmetic procedures, India is most preferred for cardiovascular and orthopedic procedures. Brazil and Costa Rica, on the other hand, are preferred for dental procedures
- Thailand dominated the market in terms of revenue in 2018 due to the massive difference in treatment cost compared to developed countries. Around 2.4 million people visited Thailand to seek medical care in 2017 owing to low cost and good quality medical services
- Singapore, Colombia, Taiwan, and Spain are some of the fastest growing medical tourism destinations in this market. Medical tourism is an important source of revenue generation for these countries, boasting advanced healthcare infrastructure and skilled manpower to cater to international patients
- Bumrungrad International Hospital and Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. are the leading treatment destinations for medical tourism in Thailand and India respectively. Other prominent examples include Mexicali Bariatric Center in Mexico and TMC Fertility in Malaysia.