China & India look to cash in on growing medical tourism market

According to a research by Transparency Market Research, a US-based market intelligence company, the current medical tourism market is valued at $10 billion and set for rapid growth.


This growth will be driven by a combination of factors – burgeoning healthcare costs in the developed world and rapidly improving standards and relatively lower cost of healthcare technology and services in nations like India and China. Consequently, the global medical tourism market is estimated to reach a whopping $32.5 billion by 2019.


The Asian medical tourism industry has been growing at a double-digit growth rate for the past few years. Patients from developed world – now more often referred to as ‘medical tourists’ are traveling to Asian countries in bigger numbers for cosmetic surgery, dental procedures, bariatric surgery, assisted reproductive technology, ophthalmologic care, orthopaedic surgery, cardiac surgery, organ and cellular transplantation among others.


According to industry experts, the number of medical tourists to and from China has been growing steadily over the years. China is today home to a growing number of travelling patients - foreign medical tourists are seeking health care either to save money or for traditional Chinese medicines. At the same time, outbound medical tourists from China are traveling to regions like South Korea, Singapore, Europe and the United States to avail of state-of-the-art healthcare solutions and services.


According to Shanghai Medical Tourism Products and Promotion Platform, in the recent years around 60,000 Chinese medical tourists have traveled abroad each year for availing medical services. Nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Europe and the US are welcoming an increasing number of Chinese patients who are turning up for anti-aging therapy, cancer screening and treatment, or for chronic-disease treatment.


Various researchers reveal that though the demand for medical tourism is fundamentally driven by cost and quality considerations relative to domestic treatment options, the choice of destination depends on many factors, including proximity, brand value, and the range of available healthcare services.


As hospitals and healthcare facilities in various Asian countries, especially India and China, often match or even surpass the quality of healthcare available in US or Europe, the medical tourism market in Asia is all set to go places.

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