Medical Tourism Gaining Popularity

A tour is all about pleasure. Even when one is not in the best of health a tour can be helpful, especially since domestic medical services are not on a par with those offered abroad. Indeed, the medical tour has become another important element in traveling.

People from highly developed countries also go on medical tours to countries less developed that their own. This is because such countries now have the sophisticated and high quality hospitals and medical equipment. Moreover, the services provided in some Asian countries cost less than in countries like America.

Due to the high quality of services that are less costly, numerous patients travel to Asia to be treated in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, India and Malaysia.

According to the Deloitte Centre, some six million American citizens will visit such countries for medical purposes this year, while the figure for 2017 is forecasted to reach 15,750,000. The current revenue of US$16 billion is expected to increase 325 percent to $68 billion within the next two years.

Malaysia, for instance, is one of the Asian countries to enjoy foreign exchange income from medical tours. According to The Star newspaper, this sector has certainly boosted the country’s economy.

Malaysian Tourism Ministry data show that while in 2001 only 75,210 foreign patients visited Malaysia, the figure rose almost four times to 296,687 in 2006 with an income of 60.31 million ringgit (Rp 195 billion). The Malaysian Hospital Association predicts that this sector will contribute Rp 1.78 trillion in 2010 from 625,000 foreign patients.

According to Frost & Sullivan Indonesia country director Eugene van de Weerd, medical tourism has made a significant contribution to the economies of the aforementioned countries and has become a vital component in the planning and development of medical services there. “The market value of medical tourism in India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia reached no less than $3 billion in the years 2007 and 2008, while the estimate for 2012 is $4.4 billion,” he said.

In view of this promising potential, one should not be surprised at the all-out efforts by Singapore in managing its medical tourism. Many countries acknowledge that Singapore’s medical facilities are the best in Southeast Asia.

To enhance the country’s medical expertise, both the government of Singapore and private hospitals as well as leading medical centers in the country jointly seek breakthroughs. The medical centers are as follows: John Hopkins University Hospital, Pennsylvania University Medical Center, Stanford University Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Kaiser Permanente.

Why Singapore? Most countries respect the medical services provided by hospitals in this country. Both private and government hospitals there are equipped with the latest medical equipment and most have become a benchmark for hospitals in the ASEAN region.

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