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Published on : Mar 14, 2016

The number of people travelling abroad to seek medical services is increasing at a rapid pace. Medical tourism has, therefore, emerged as a global trend. The exponentially rising cost of healthcare services and treatment in developed countries, coupled with the rapid development of healthcare infrastructure in developing nations, has been the prime factor fuelling demand from the global medical tourism industry. Due to favorable government policies and increased investment on research and development, the healthcare sector in Asian countries boasts sophisticated infrastructure and implementation of advanced technologies. 

According to a report recently published by Transparency Market Research, the global market for medical tourism, which in 2012 stood at US$10.5 bn, is expected to reach US$32.5 bn by the end of 2019. If the figures hold true, the market will exhibit a robust CAGR of 17.9% between 2013 and 2018. 

High Cost of Medical Treatment in Developed Regions Encourages Patients to Seek Similar Healthcare Services in Developing Nations

The trend of medical tourism is more popular in the U.S. and European countries. The high cost of medical treatment in these countries have encouraged patients and their families to choose medical tourism instead. The U.S. alone witnessed over 1.6 million people opting for medical tourism in 2012. This not only enables them get the treatment required at 20% to 30% less than the cost they otherwise might have incurred in their countries, but also gives them option to enjoy an extended holiday. 

Asian Countries Attract Maximum Number of Medical Tourists Every Year 

Among other regions, Asian countries have been witnessing an increasing influx of medical tourists over the past few years. In the year 2012, the Asian countries attracted almost 2 billion foreign patients, generating a revenue of US$6.4 bn. The exponential growth in this region is also attributed by the presence of popular tourist destinations in the region. India, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan are among the Asian countries welcoming the highest number of medical tourists every year. For instance, Thailand has emerged as a popular destinations for medical tourist seeking cosmetic surgeries from Western Europe. Likewise, India and Malaysia have become popular destination for medical tourists for advanced cardiac surgeries due to the presence of sophisticated and modern healthcare infrastructures in these countries.