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The global medical tourism market size was USD 11.56 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 13.98 billion in 2021 to USD 53.51 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 21.1% in the 2021-2028 period. The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with healthcare services in medical tourism witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a huge decline of -46.9% in 2020. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
According to the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), every year around 14 million people globally travel to other countries for medical care. Drastic advancements in the healthcare industry by the launch of medical devices and non-invasive surgery procedures are major factors responsible for increased tourism for medical procedures globally. Medical tourism has gained traction in the last few years among the high-income countries such as the U.S.
According to Mckinsey and Company report, 40% of the people travel to countries to seek medical care owing to the availability of advanced technology coupled with highly trained professionals. This shift is also due to the factor that patients require quick medical service without a lengthy waiting period.
Moreover, owing to the availability of lower-cost treatment for various conditions such as knee replacement, dental, cosmetics among others in the countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, etc., are proliferating the potential of medical travel market value in these countries. For example, Singapore received 500, 000 medical tourists annually while half of the tourists are from Indonesia. Therefore, the growing rate of medical tourists coupled with demand for medical and cosmetic procedures is anticipated to gain growth during the forecast period.
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Worldwide Declined the Demand for Several Medical Procedures
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 resulted in the imposition of stricter measures to avoid the spread of the infectious virus. Owing to the closedown of country borders, the rate of tourists visiting for medical care declined massively. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of tourists declined by 84% in the Asia Pacific region in the year 2020 as compared to the year 2019.
Moreover, allowance of essential and emergency procedures by the hospitals and service providers led to complete closure of cosmetic, dental, and other treatments. For example, the government of India in March 2020 announced the postponement of non-essential elective surgeries amid the rising pandemic cases. Therefore, strict measures worldwide led to delays in the procedures leading to a decline in the arrival of medical tourists. For instance, April 2020 witnessed the lowest tourist arrival globally at around 3,894 as compared to 118,070 in April 2019. This led to a strong setback for the growth of the market in 2020.
However, owing to the reopening of the country borders and surge in the patient visits for surgeries, the market is expected to slowly recover from the losses during the forecast period.
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Active Consumer Preference towards Cosmetic Procedures to Raise Market Potential
As the COVID-19 cases have started to decline in some countries and the travel restrictions have been eased, there has been an increase in the demand for procedures that were delayed or postponed during the pandemic. Awareness among individuals towards personal care and appearance has led to greater demand for cosmetic procedures such as body fat reduction, acne treatment, etc.
According to the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) surgeons, there has been an increase in the appointments and treatments for a facelift, eyelift, among others despite the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2021. Additionally, the availability of trained professionals coupled with quality care is also another factor for the preference of individuals towards these procedures in other countries.
Thus, growing preference for cosmetic treatments resulting in increased patient visits in clinics is expected to boost the medical tourism market growth during the forecast period.
Lower Cost Care for Surgeries to Accelerate Market Growth
The rise in the healthcare cost in developed countries is resulting in a burden on the healthcare providers as well as patients. Also, regulations imposed on the healthcare system by the government in several countries lead to delays of the procedures. This has urged people to travel abroad for medical care. According to the Medical and Health Tourism Congress (MHTC), medical treatment is cheaper in Asian countries than private hospitals in the U.S. For example, a heart bypass surgery in Thailand would cost USD 13,000 as compared to USD 113,000 in the U.S.
Therefore, a higher rate of inbound health tourism in countries such as India, Thailand among others for quick and lower-cost medical care is contributing to the increased number of surgeries. Additionally, lower cost for advanced surgeries is the primary reason attributable to the market growth. According to the Apollo Hospitals, a hip replacement surgery in Thailand costs around USD 7,800 as compared to USD 50,000 in the U.S.
Expansion of Inbound Medical Travel to Raise Market Potential
Growing technological advancements in the healthcare industry in terms of medical devices, surgical procedures, wearables, connected healthcare, etc., have brought the world closer to adopting better medical facilities for value-based care. Information and communication technology, telemedicine, and telehealth has opened doors for patients worldwide to consult doctors, book appointments, and receive quality care without hesitation.
This has led to increased growth in the rate of inbound tourism in developing countries such as Thailand, India, etc. For instance, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Thailand has been ranked fifth in terms of inbound medical travel after the U.S., France, Turkey, and Belgium. Therefore, the urge to receive low-cost treatment and availability of advanced medical infrastructure is attributable to the expansion of the global market.
Pandemic Outbreaks Resulting in Travel Restrictions to Hamper Market Growth
Medical tourism is solely dependent on the travel facilities of one country to another. However, a pandemic occurrence or strict regulations imposed by the country government to receive medical care abroad hampers the market growth. For instance, according to the World Tourism Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic emergence led to the decline of tourists by almost 73% worldwide in the year 2020.
This eventually impacted the industry thereby restricting the market growth owing to the decline in the rate of medical technologies/procedures for international travelers. Asia Pacific region was severely impacted due to travel restrictions causing a decline of tourists by 84% in the year 2020. Such a factor is, therefore, attributable to hamper the market value during the forecast period and is anticipated to take a longer duration to return to the pre-pandemic growth.
Lower Cost Surgeries in Developing Countries to Help Proliferate Market Growth
Based on services, the global market is segmented into medical treatment, cosmetic treatment, and alternative treatment. The medical treatment segment dominated the global market in terms of value share in 2020. Increased demand for medical procedures such as dental, orthopedic and spine, cardiology, etc. are attributable to the growth of the segment. Availability of advanced facilities & services in developing countries such as India, Singapore, Thailand among others, at a lower cost is facilitating the tourist from high-income countries to opt for medical visas. These popular destinations witnessed a decline in medical treatment procedures during 2020 owing to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the country's government.
However, as the restrictions have been eased in some countries, the uptake of the procedures is likely to surge resulting in strong growth during the forecast period. Additionally, the cosmetic treatment segment is likely to flourish during the forecast period owing to the preference of the individuals towards appearance care, body fat reduction, rejuvenation, etc. Also, the growing launch of advanced medical devices for cosmetic procedures is another factor contributing to the growth of the segment.
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Emergence of Private Players Offering Advanced Facilities to Enable Dominance
Based on the service provider, the global market is segmented into public and private. Among them, the private segment held the dominating share of the market in 2020. The growing number of private providers globally delivering world-class medical services has attracted tourist. Availability of advanced medical infrastructure, digital systems, and value-based care at a lower cost is attributable to the dominance of the private providers in the market.
However, public providers are anticipated to witness a slower growth owing to the lack of funding received for medical treatment in some countries. For example, Canadians prefer private providers as the majority of the medical treatments are either not available or not funded in public hospitals.
North America Medical Tourism Market Size, 2020 (USD billion)
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The market size in North America stood at USD 3.00 billion in 2020. The market in the region is characterized by the higher rate of tourists visiting the U.S. for medical treatment such as cardiology procedures, orthopedic procedures, etc. leading to rising in the revenue generation of the providers. For instance, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 2019 report, the U.S. reported a USD 3,930 million spending on inbound medical tourism. Although the country is well known for outbound tourism, it is also a preferred destination for medical treatment owing to the improved hospital infrastructure coupled with highly trained professionals.
Europe accounted for the leading position in the market owing to the growing medical infrastructure and facilities for medical tourists in the countries such as Spain, U.K., France, Belgium, etc. Though the pandemic led to disruptions in travel and tourism in 2020 resulting in a decline in the number of tourist visits in the European region, some countries have now started programs full-fledged to provide better facilities and services. For example, in May 2021, Spain announced the opening of the country borders for vaccinated medical travelers to promote tourism for medical procedures in the country. This is anticipated to give a boost to the country's medical travel value during the forecast period.
The market in Asia Pacific is projected to register a higher CAGR during the forecast period owing to the high number of patients traveling to Asian countries for medical treatment due to the availability of lower-cost facilities. For instance, according to the Medical Tourism Index, India is ranked number 10th in the world for popular destinations. Also, bypass surgery in India costs around USD 10,000 as compared to the U.S. which costs USD 113,000. Moreover, countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea are expected to gain traction during the forecast period owing to the increased patients for cosmetic procedures in the country.
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The Latin American market is expected to witness slower growth owing to the developing medical facilities in the country. Middle East & Africa is among the famous destination for medical tourism for cosmetic and rejuvenation procedures. Countries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey are popular destinations. For instance, according to the Oxford Business Group, Dubai witnessed a 4% growth in medical tourist arrivals in the year 2019. Lower cost cosmetic procedures are the primary reason for travelers to choose Middle East countries leading to growth in the revenue of the market.
Diverse Service Portfolio of Providers at Lower Cost to Increase Medical Tourist Capacity
The global market is a fragmented market with the majority of the providers emerging from the Asia Pacific and the Middle East countries. A diversified service portfolio along with the constant launch of programs by the healthcare providers are prominent factors responsible for the strong presence of the companies. For example, in October 2021, BC Platforms (BCP) entered into a partnership agreement with Bumrungrad International Hospital to boost precision medicine in Southeast Asia.
Bumrungrad International Hospital is one of the leading providers of medical services for international travelers. Such initiatives are likely to boost the medical tourism industry in Asian countries. Moreover, a strong emphasis on international tourists getting cosmetic treatments at a lower cost is anticipated to drive the value of the service providers during the forecast period.
An Infographic Representation of Medical Tourism Market
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The global medical tourism market research report includes detailed information regarding various insights and statistics of the market. Some of them are growth drivers, restraints, competitive landscape, regional analysis, and challenges. It further offers an analytical depiction of the global market trends and estimations to illustrate the forthcoming investment pockets. The market is quantitatively analyzed from 2017 to 2028 to provide the financial competency of the market. The information gathered in the report has been taken from several primary and secondary sources.
Value (USD billion)
Service; Service Provider; and Geography
By Service Provider
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size is worth USD 53.51 billion by 2028.
In 2020, the market value stood at USD 11.56 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 21.1%, the market will exhibit strong growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).
Medical treatment segment is the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.
Growing inbound tourism coupled with preference for lower cost care for medical facilities are key factors driving the global market.
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Apollo Hospitals, and Bangkok Chain Hospital are the key players in the market.
Europe region held the highest market share in 2020.
Awareness among the population pertaining to cosmetic procedures is the major trend for the growth of the market.
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