The medical tourism industry has become one of fastest developing branches of tourism. Currently, it is valued at US$439 billion, and expected year-over-year growth for next 10 years estimates 25%. In future, 3 to 4 percent of the world’s population will travel to other countries to get healthcare and other health-related treatments. This information is indicated in the report commissioned by VISA and Oxford Economics.
For decades, medical travel was underestimated by tourism agencies and hotels, but the situation is starting to change. According to the report, the growth of medical tourism will require building of 340 new airports over the next decade. In 2025, the market value can reach the astronomical sum of US$3 trillion.
The rank of countries popular for medical tourism is indicated in the annual Medical Tourism Index (MTI). Here the leadership is occupied by Canada, which is followed by the UK. Israel is the third most attractive country for medical tourism, and Singapore and India occupy fourth and fifth places respectively. When it comes to healthcare travel spending, the Unites States are an obvious leader, but such countries as Thailand, Singapore and South Korea show continuous growth. It is expected that within next 10 years China will become the global leader in healthcare travel spending due to growing demand for higher quality healthcare in the country.
The age spectrum of medical travelers is quite wide. While some experts assume medical tourism will become more popular with older travelers, others disagree as demand among travelers aged 18-34 is high and this age group is more likely to travel abroad.