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Medical Tourism Market to Expand due to Low Treatment Costs in Underdeveloped Nations

Article Description

Medical tourism is a process of travelling out of one’s country of residence in order to receive medical care. Till a few years ago, medical tourism mostly involved patients from less developed nations traveling to developed countries in order to avail treatments unavailable within their homeland. Over the last few years, there have been both quantitative as well as qualitative shifts in patient mobility owing to people travelling from richer nations to under-developed countries for accessing healthcare services.

This shift is primarily owing to the relatively low treatment costs within underdeveloped nations, the easy availability of information about the services online, and availability of cheap flights. Some of the services that are popular among medical tourists are orthopedics, cardiac surgery, elective or dental care treatments, and neurosurgery, among others.

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Increasing Treatment Options in Less Developed Countries to Boost Medical Tourism Market

The global medical tourism market stood at US$10.5 bn in 2012 and is predicted to reach US$32.5 bn in 2019, rising at an extraordinary 17.90% CAGR between 2013 and 2019. The competitive prices of medical procedures globally, the increasing geriatric population, and the increasing availability of treatment options in less developed countries are the key factors fuelling the growth of the market for medical tourism. In addition, the increasing technological advancements and the increasing uninsured population globally are also amongst the prime factors augmenting the growth of the market for medical tourism.

Furthermore, the increasing waiting time within nations such as the UK, France, and Canada is a prime factor compelling patients to travel to other destinations for accessing medical services, thus boosting the overall medical tourism market. On the other hand, the increasing prevalence of medical malpractices and the unavailability of follow-up care in other nations are amongst the prime factors impeding the growth of the market.

Asia Emerged as Top Region in Medical Tourism Market in 2013

In terms of geography, the global medical tourism market is segmented into countries such as Singapore, India, Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, and prospective countries including Dubai, Costa Rica, Poland, and the Philippines. Due to the low treatment cost and the presence of high-quality infrastructure, Asia emerged as a major region in the medical tourism market in 2013. This region is growing in the medical tourism market owing to the presence of a number of top-notch medical tourism destinations including India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Specialization in Cardiac Surgeries to Boost India Medical Tourism Market

Amongst the various countries, India is the most swiftly developing nation in the region of Asia and is attracting a huge count of patients due to its specialization in cardiac surgeries. Malaysia is also predicted to exhibit a strong growth in the market for medical tourism in the coming years. This is owing to the presence of highly skilled professionals as well as the modern healthcare infrastructure in this nation. On the other hand, Thailand is considered to be the most popular destination for cosmetic surgeries for Western European medical tourists. Around 2.5 mn foreign patients visited Thailand in 2012 and this nation constituted a share of 45% in the total foreign tourist arrival within the region of Asia in the same year.

The prime players dominant in the market are Bumrungrad Hospital, Apollo Enterprise Ltd, Raffles Medical Group, Prince Court Medical Center, and Bangkok Medical Center, among others.