Medical tourism to grow 25% per year

Asian countries continue to thrive both as outbound and inbound medical tourism markets
Asian countries continue to thrive both as outbound and inbound medical tourism markets

The global medical tourism industry is set to boom in the coming years, with a new report forecasting an annual growth rate of up to 25% over the next decade.

The Medical Tourism Index (MTI), released this week by Visa and Oxford Economics, shows that the sector is already worth an impressive US$439 billion, and could soar to a staggering US$3 trillion by 2025.

This is due to the assertion that 3-4% of the world’s population will travel internationally for medical treatments in the coming decade.

“The borders to quality healthcare access have begun to disintegrate,” MTI’s co-authors, Renée-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association, and Mark Fetscherin, associate professor of international business & marketing at Rollins College, said a joint statement. “Speculation about the medical tourism industry as a ‘phenomenon’ is over. This report and the rankings of the Medical Tourism Index provide a unique opportunity for investors seeking new ventures to make smart choices in destinations driving patient travel.”

The MTI listed the top 41 destinations for those seeking affordable yet high-quality of healthcare across the globe. Canada, the UK, Israel, Singapore and India were the top five ranked medical tourism providers, followed by Germany, France, South Korea, Italy and Colombia.

The US leads in terms of healthcare travel spending, but Asian countries continue to grow. The report also predicts that China will overtake the US as the world’s largest outbound medical tourism market within the next 10 years.

One of the main reasons for the medical tourism boom will be the world’s aging population. Visa data predicts that 13% of all international trips by 2025 will be made by older travellers. Other factors driving the growth of the industry include improved transport infrastructure, especially new airports, and rising levels of global affluence.

More than 3,000 global delegates from medical tourism industry will descend on Washington DC this September for the 9th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress.

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