With high healthcare standards and a complex and costly system at home, some patients, particularly those from the UK and U.S., have taken to traveling internationally, especially to Asia, to satisfy their medical needs. Experts speaking today at the Healthcare Travel Exhibition and Congress predicted that this growth in medical tourism will continue, from its current gross revenue of $56 billion annually to $100 billion by 2012.
"Buoyed by the success stories of earlier waves of medical tourists, consumers, insurance companies as well businesses fully recognize the reliability and affordability of going overseas for medical procedures," said Andrew Keable, divisional director of Informa Life Sciences. "Patients who choose to undergo treatments in Asia can pay just 10 percent of the cost of comparable treatment conducted in developed countries like the United States or United Kingdom. This differential cost, coupled with today's sophisticated travel industry, provides an excellent catalyst to the growth of medical tourism."
The focus on medical tourism extends across the continent; hospitals in Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Singapore have recently stepped up their medical technologies and resources so as to stay competitive in this growing sector.
The exhibition, hosted by Singapore's Fairmont Hotel, has brought together leaders from the healthcare and tourism industries. Topics to be covered include healthcare insurance trends in Asia, legal liabilities in global medical travel and health insurance risk management for new markets.