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International Payments | Case Studies

The Next Big Medical Tourism Hot Spots

Travel and tourism is more than an industry – it’s a global force whose sheer scale leaves all others in the dust.

In 2017 it had the biggest growth of any industry, including financial services, and contributed more than 10% to the global GDP. Worldwide destinations vie for visitors, like France, whose art, culture and monuments have long made it one of the top vacation spots. In recent years, it’s more than landmarks and galleries that’s attracting foreigners – it’s medical care. 

Medical Tourism Destinations
Medical Tourism Destinations

Travel for the purpose of seeking a procedure is a relatively new industry compared to traditional tourism. However, compared to cost of accommodation, food and shopping spent by the average visitor, medical seekers fork out a significantly larger sum. Half of all overseas medical bills cost between $10,000-$50,000, with a just over 6% topping $100,000 plus. Clearly, there’s huge profit to be gained for those who can offer the in-demand services. Right now, a few major markets dominate the industry:

  1. USA
  2. Germany
  3. Turkey
  4. India
  5. United Kingdom

These countries host the bulk of patients from across the globe, but other players are investing in their own infrastructure and marketing in hopes of cashing in.

Here are the next locations set to gain traction in the coming years:

  1. Mexico: While America reigns supreme in hosting foreign visitors, their own residents cross the border in droves to seek out cheaper care in Mexico. During their stay, a medical tourist can spend up to $60,000 – a huge windfall for the region. Spurred by these figures, cities are investing in English-language training, modern facilities and recovery accommodation.
  2. Dubai: The UAE has lofty goals for the coming year. The area is spending large sums to attract half-a-million outsiders per year by 2020. The traditionally oil-centric region is turning to healthcare as a means of diversifying its economy, especially in the face of unpredictable oil prices. Plans are in place to offer packages for surgery, treatment and tourism to visitors, many of whom travel from parts of Asia.
  3. Taiwan: Though it’s not the first place patients in Asia look for treatments, it’s growing in popularity. A surgery here can cost nearly half the price advertised in the US in some cases. Officials are looking to attract some of the throngs of visitors that already seek medical options in nearby Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
  4. Greece: Drawing foreigners to the sun-soaked islands of Greece has never been a problem. However, economic challenges in recent years mean that new sources of revenue are a welcome sight. The Mediterranean country’s entry to the industry was aided by their reputation as a safe, relaxing and modern vacation destination, not to mention their numerous dialysis centres.