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The global medical tourism market size was valued at USD 19.28 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 24.14 billion in 2023 to USD 93.38 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 21.3% over the forecast period.
According to the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), every year around 14 million people globally travel to other countries to receive medical care. Drastic advancements in the healthcare industry due to the launch of medical devices and non-invasive surgical procedures are major factors responsible for increased tourism for medical procedures globally. Medical tourism has gained traction in the last few years among high-income countries such as the U.S.
Most of the people travel to different countries to seek medical care owing to the availability of advanced technology and highly trained professionals. This shift is also due to the fact that patients require quick medical service without a long waiting period.
Moreover, the availability of low-cost treatment for various conditions, such as knee replacement, dental, and cosmetics, among others in Singapore, Thailand, and Dubai is proliferating the market value in these countries. For example, Singapore receives 500,000 medical tourists annually; 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 drive the medical tourism market growth during the forecast period.
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Worldwide Declined 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 closure of country borders, the number of tourists visiting for medical care declined massively.
Moreover, permission to carry out essential and emergency procedures by hospitals and medical 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 procedures, leading to a decline in the number of medical tourists.
However, the reopening of national borders, lifting of travel restrictions by government bodies, and gradual surge in the number of patients boarding international flights post-pandemic augmented the patient visits for surgeries. Moreover, rising strategic initiatives by key healthcare centers to promote health tourism among international patients further assisted the market in its slow recovery from heavy losses.
Active Consumer Preference Toward Cosmetic Procedures to Boost Market Potential
As COVID-19 cases started to decline in some countries and travel restrictions were eased, there has been an increase in demand for procedures that were delayed or postponed during the pandemic. Awareness among individuals about the importance of personal care has led to greater demand for cosmetic procedures such as body fat reduction and acne treatment.
According to surgeons from the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), there was an increase in the appointments for and treatments, such as facelift, eyelift, and others, despite the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2021. Additionally, the availability of trained professionals coupled with access to quality care is responsible for the rising preference for these procedures in other countries.
Thus, the growing preference for cosmetic treatments resulting in increased patient visits in clinics, which is expected to boost the market growth during the forecast period.
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Low-Cost Care for Surgeries to Boost Market Progress
The rise in healthcare costs in developed nations has become a burden for healthcare providers as well as patients. Also, regulations imposed on the healthcare system by governments in several countries can lead to delays in carrying out various surgeries. This factor has urged people to travel to foreign countries to receive medical care. As per the Medical and Health Tourism Congress (MHTC), medical care is cheaper in Asian nations 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 Thailand and India to receive affordable and quick medical care is contributing to the increased volume of surgeries. Additionally, lower cost of advanced surgeries is a major factor boosting the market growth.
According to data by Apollo Hospitals, a hip replacement surgery in Thailand costs around USD 7,800 as compared to USD 50,000 in the U.S.
Increase Inbound Medical Travel to Augment Market Growth
Growing technological advancements in the healthcare industry in terms of medical devices, surgical procedures, wearables, and connected healthcare have urged end-users to adopt better healthcare facilities for improving the quality of patient care. Telemedicine, information & communication technology, and telehealth have opened doors for patients across the world to consult doctors, book appointments, and receive high-quality medical attention without hesitation.
This has increased inbound tourism in developing nations, such as Thailand, India, and many others. 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 demand for low-cost treatment and availability of advanced medical infrastructure are contributing to the expansion of the market.
Pandemic-Induced Travel Restrictions Hampered Market Growth
Medical tourism is solely dependent on patients’ ability to travel from one country to the other to receive medical treatments. However, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled governments to impose strict regulations with respect to receiving medical care abroad, which hampered the market growth. For instance, according to the World Tourism Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic caused almost 73% decline in tourist travels globally in 2020.
This negatively impacted the industry owing to decline in the rate of medical procedures for international travelers. Asia Pacific was severely impacted due to travel restrictions, causing a decline in the number of tourists by 84% in 2020. Such a factor hampered the market value and is anticipated to take a longer duration to return to pre-pandemic growth levels.
Lower Cost of Surgeries in Developing Countries to Boost Demand for Medical Treatment
Based on service, the market is segmented into medical treatment, cosmetic treatment, and alternative treatment. The medical treatment segment dominated the global market in terms of market share in 2022. Increased demand for medical procedures, such as dental, orthopedic, spinal, and cardiac, is contributing to the growth of the segment. Availability of advanced facilities & services in developing countries, such as India, Singapore, and Thailand, at a lower cost is encouraging tourists from high-income countries to opt for medical visas to visit these nations. These popular destinations witnessed a decline in medical treatment procedures during 2020, owing to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by governments.
However, as the restrictions have been eased in some countries, the uptake of these procedures is likely to surge, resulting in strong growth of the segment during the forecast period. Additionally, the cosmetic treatment segment is likely to flourish during the forecast period owing to the rising demand for enhancing aesthetic appearance, body fat reduction, and rejuvenation. Also, the launch of advanced medical devices for cosmetic procedures is another factor contributing to the growth of the segment.
Emergence of Private Players Offering Advanced Facilities to Boost their Demand among Patients
Based on service provider, the market is segmented into public and private. The private segment held a dominating medical tourism market share in 2022. The growing number of private service providers globally delivering world-class medical services has attracted several tourists. Availability of advanced medical infrastructure, healthcare facilities, digital systems, and value-based care at a lower cost is responsible for the dominance of private service providers in the market.
However, the public service provider segment is anticipated to witness slower growth owing to the lack of funding received for medical treatment in some countries. For example, Canadians prefer private service providers as the majority of medical treatments are either not available or not funded in public hospitals.
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North America Medical Tourism Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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The market size in North America stood at USD 4.98 billion in 2022, dominating the market share. The regional market is characterized by a higher rate of tourists visiting the U.S. for medical treatments, such as cardiology and orthopedic procedures, thereby increasing the revenue margins of the medical service providers. For instance, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA) 2021 report, the U.S. reported USD 3.4 billion spending on inbound health tourism. Although the country is well known for outbound tourism, it is also a preferred destination for medical treatments owing to improved hospital infrastructure and highly trained professionals.
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Europe accounted for a leading position in the global market due to the growing availability of medical infrastructure and facilities for medical tourists in Spain, the U.K., France, and Belgium. Though the pandemic led to disruptions in travel and tourism in 2022, resulting in a decline in the number of tourist visits in Europe, some countries have now started full-fledged programs to provide better facilities and services. For example, in May 2021, Spain announced the opening of its borders for vaccinated medical travelers to promote medical tourism in the country. This is anticipated to boost the regional market growth 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 low-cost facilities. For instance, according to the Medical Tourism Index, India is ranked 10th in the world in the list of popular destinations for healthcare treatments. Also, bypass surgery in India costs around USD 10,000 as compared to the U.S., which costs USD 113,000. Moreover, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea are expected to gain traction during the forecast period, owing to the increased volume of patients for cosmetic procedures in these countries.
The Latin America market is expected to witness slower growth as the region is still in its early stages with respect to offering a robust medical infrastructure to foreign patients. The Middle East & Africa is among the famous destinations for medical tourism for cosmetic and rejuvenation procedures. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Turkey are popular destinations. For instance, according to the Dubai Health Authority report published in 2022, 630,000 international health tourists visited Dubai in 2021. Affordability of cosmetic procedures is the primary reason for travelers to choose the Middle Eastern countries, leading to growth in the regional market revenue.
Diverse Service Portfolio of Healthcare Providers at Lower Cost to Increase Volume of Medical Tourists
The global market is a fragmented one, with majority of the medical service providers emerging from Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern countries. A diversified service portfolio and the constant launch of new programs by healthcare providers are prominent factors responsible for the strong presence of reputed 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 profit margins of the service providers during the forecast period.
An Infographic Representation of Medical Tourism Market
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The report includes detailed information regarding various insights and statistics of the market. Some of them are growth drivers, restraints, competitive landscape, and regional analysis. It further offers an analytical depiction of the global market trends and estimations to illustrate the market’s investment potential. The market is quantitatively analyzed from 2019 to 2030 to provide the financial competency of the industry. The information gathered in the report has been taken from several primary and secondary sources.
Value (USD billion)
CAGR of 21.3% from 2023-2030
By Service, Service Provider, and Geography
By Service Provider
In 2022, the market value stood at USD 19.28 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 21.3%, the market will exhibit strong growth during the forecast period of 2023-2030.
The medical treatment segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.
Growing inbound tourism coupled with preference for low-cost care in medical facilities are the key factors driving the global market.
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Apollo Hospitals, and Bangkok Chain Hospital are the key players in the market.
North America held the highest market share in 2022.
Rising preference for cosmetic procedures is the major trend boosting the growth of the market.
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