With the tourism industry soaring globally, more and more people are interested in visiting new countries and learning new things. It’s no wonder that medical tourism is also on the rise because people are no longer afraid to travel away from home to get treatment, so we’re looking at countries who are actively investing in making new clinics and welcoming foreigners from all over the world. But why is medical tourism so popular and what exactly are its benefits? If you want to find out, keep reading.
What exactly is medical tourism?
As the name implies, medical tourism is tourism that’s aimed at people who travel for the sake of their health. Rather than going on a regular vacation, patients go with the specific goal to visit hospitals, clinics, and doctors in a different country for a variety of reasons. There, they can get the treatment they need but can’t get in their own country, but a lot of people also travel for the sake of aesthetic surgery, hair transplants, or eye corrective surgery.
Is it a new thing?
Not at all, but it is more popular now that it’s ever been before. Even in ancient times, people used to travel to Greece to visit temples to Asclepius, the famed god of healing and medicine so he could bless them and heal their ailments. While people always traveled to see renowned healers, it was in the 18th century that special spas were built in Europe, just for tourists who were coming from abroad. The idea was always there, and it’s with the rise of globalization that it’s not becoming this popular.
A cheaper alternative for many
One of the biggest reasons people engage in medical tourism is because it’s simply much cheaper than the alternative. Even when you add the cost of travel and accommodation, treatments in certain countries are significantly more affordable. For example, a heart bypass surgery in India can be 70% cheaper than it is in the US, so in the end, having this option can literally save someone’s life or at the very least make it easier to avoid exorbitant costs.
New travel opportunities
There are several countries that have grown quite proficient in this practice, with Malaysia, India, Brazil, Singapore, and Spain being some of the top. Some people travel exclusively to get a surgery they sorely need, but some travel to these places because they have a condition and need to be careful about which destination they choose. For example, kidney patients need places with the right clinics, so taking a dialysis holiday in Spain where they can enjoy excellent doctors, have access to dialysis centers, and spend time in a warm climate is a great idea. Similarly, people who seek high-quality plastic surgery such as breast augmentation often go to Brazil—it’s famous for its plastic surgeons, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Maybe you’re not all too thrilled with your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and parents all knowing you’re looking to get a hair transplant done, or maybe you’re just really private about your health. Either way, traveling to a different country can both save you money and make sure you remain totally anonymous. Your health is your own thing, and you deserve to take care of it in any way you need to.
Very often, even if your treatment is completely covered by medical insurance, you’ll be put on a very long waiting list until you can actually get it done. Medical tourism cuts down on the waiting time if you can afford to have the procedure in another country, and it’s possible you might get that life-saving heart transplant if you allow yourself to explore other options.
While traveling to a whole new place for your medical concerns sounds shady, in truth, countries we mentioned before are all full of exceptionally good doctors, most of whom were trained in America or Europe. As long as you find a trusted hospital or a clinic with a lot of positive reviews you’re bound to meet competent professionals, so always make sure to do your research and find the best doctors.
A boost to the economy
The fact that you can get affordable, high-quality care in developing nations tends to draw in wealthy patients from already developed countries. Tourism provides a significant boost to the local economy, and not just those of the big cities. Small towns and villages that are famous for natural remedies and practices are also becoming very popular.
More jobs for the locals
More hospitals and more hotels usually mean more tourism and medicine-related jobs. Receptionists, maids, taxi drivers, doctors, nurses, waiters, and bartenders are all needed, so the locals also benefit from the whole situation.
If your health is your primary concern, then keep medical tourism in mind. It’s an affordable option that can save you a lot of hassle and get you to travel and experience the world.