Travelling to seek medical help has been an ancient concept dating back to the oldest civilizations. For instance, Ancient Romans built thermal spas in disparate locations across the empire and many foreign convoys learned about the ancient Indian medicine of ayurveda. Over the years, as medicine evolved into a profit-oriented industry, the reemergence of medical tourism has brought in several opportunities for patients to seek alternative therapies or conventional treatments at an affordable price.
Global Medical Tourism Market to Reach US$32.5 bn by 2019
The healthcare industry, on the whole, is not an accessible avenue for many in the world, the primary deterrent being skyrocketing prices of the treatments and the lack of disposable income. However, in recent times, several developing countries have turned this drawback and disparity into a moneymaking business by offering the same treatment at much cheaper prices than in developed countries. The global medical tourism market is being fuelled by the high number of Westerners traveling to Southeast Asia or Central Europe for cheaper but high-quality medical treatments. Research analysts at Transparency Market Research have stated that the global medical tourism industry was valued at US$10.5 bn in 2012 and is expected to reach US$32.5 bn by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 17.90% from 2013 to 2019.
India to Lead Global Medical Tourism Market
According to the Economic Times, India is expected to remain at the forefront of the expanding medical tourism market, as healthcare is set to be costlier in developed countries. According to another report, the Indian medical tourism industry is expected to reach US$8 bn by 2020. According to a Grant Thornton white paper, low costs of medical treatments in India are the prime reason motivating 80% of the patients. Owing to this reason, several medical tourism corridors have opened up for patients across the globe, such as in Singapore, Costa Rica, Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, and India. Some of the famous cities for medical tourists in India are NCR, Mumbai, and Chennai.
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Low Cost of Surgeries to Drive Medical Tourism Market in India
The primary growth driver for the medical tourism industry in India, as mentioned above, is the low cost of procedures such as bone marrow transplants, cardiac bypass, and dental treatments. Furthermore, as English is a commonly spoken language in India, it offers a huge assurance to the travelers as communication becomes easier and accurate. This aspect has also accelerated the growth of the medical tourism market in this country. In the coming years, growing investments in the healthcare sector and advancements in medical technologies will also give an impetus to the growth of this medical tourism market in India.
Some of the important players in the global medical tourism market are Bangkok Hospital Medical Center, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., Samitivej Sukhumvit, Asian Heart Institute, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Raffles Medical Group, Fortis Healthcare Ltd., Prince Court Medical Center, Min-Sheng General Hospital, and KPJ Healthcare Berhad.
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