Medical Tourism: Emerging Trends to Watch in 2020

Medical Tourism: Emerging Trends to Watch in 2020


MILA JONESFollowMay 15, 2019 · 

Right from shifting demographics to treatment segmentation, there are new trends that will clearly dominate the medical tourism landscape in 2019 and beyond.

Travelling for work or leisure has been the usual trend. It is not so uncanny to watch someone unwind a little at an exotic location, sipping on a mojito, letting one’s feet down. But these days, people are travelling overseas for reasons unexplored before.

With the growing expenses of the healthcare industry, people seem to not be able to afford even the most basic healthcare services. This has happened due to heavy privatization of the healthcare system in countries like the United States, where citizens experience rising medical expenses every year.

Annually, Americans end up spending roughly $8,000 per person in medical expenses. This, when compared to the annual medical expenditure of roughly $3,000 per person in Japan, seems exorbitant.

How did the trend begin?

People began seeking out medical assistance in other countries, considering how their own country believes in hiking up medical expenses out of everything else. Blame it on the internet for making the world a smaller place. A study of Internet use in Norway found that by 2007, 67% of the population was using the Internet for health information in some way.

Result: people started pouring into low-cost countries like India. This is where the collective price of state-of-the-art medical services and hotel charges still end up being less than one-fourth of its price in the States.

The word spread, and sooner than the US government realised, a considerable amount of people were heading to the Indian Sub-continent to get healed. Even with Obama Care and other such medical facilities at their disposal, people, especially patients, still end up shelling a huge sum of money.

When they looked into it, they realised that travelling abroad for healthcare was actually cheaper than getting treated in the States. The benefits of medical tourism were far too many to miss. Over time, this turned up to become a trend, as people started exploring newer locations where they can get treated and also cut themselves from the hassles of a monotonous life.

It is 2019 already, and here are some emerging trends in terms of medical tourism to watch out for in 2020.

Medical tourism: Emerging trends to watch out for in 2020

1. Exploring newer opportunities
In the last couple of decades that have passed by, medical tourism has caught on with a majority of people worldwide. Due to medical tourism, they not only get to visit newer places, which they otherwise would not think to visit, and they also get treated at less than a quarter of the price quoted to them in their home country.

There are quite some countries that are catering to affordable and quality-laden medical services like India, UAE, Greece and Taiwan. The main USP they usually attract patients from all over the world with is affordable medical treatment and breathtaking locations and landscapes for patients to visit.

2. Private health cities now get the spotlight
Developing economies like India, Bangladesh, etc. experience a massive boost with foreign investment that comes in because of medical tourism. To further encourage this, private health cities are investing more in cutting edge technology and skilled labour, so that the quality of medical treatment provided only enhances enough to garner more tourists in search of recovery.

Apart from medical treatments, such cities are also investing in tourist-friendly locations to offer patients something more than just medical well-being. This is to create a lasting impression on their mind so that they inform the others about it too.

India, a leading medical tourism destination, sees a potential medical tourism industry worth $9 billion by 2020, which would account for 20% of the global market share.

3. Upping the bar for skilled professionals
Developing countries always either lacked the funding or the resources to equip citizens with the professional skills required for quality service. With medical tourism, there is enough capital pouring in to afford both.

As a result, people are now getting equipped with professional skills, which in turn, enable them to treat patients better and attract more tourists from around the world. It is a progressive cycle for developing nations.

4. The shift in demographics of developed countries
Due to medical tourism, what was once the revenue generating aspect of developed countries has now taken a massive hit. With people now coming to developing countries for medical procedures done at a cheaper price, there is a definite shift in demographics, in terms of revenue generated.

With the rise in medical tourism, there is a massive shift in revenue generation towards Asia. The Asia Pacific holds the largest share of 43.7% of the global market.

5. Segmentation aspect of the in the Global medical tourism market
Quite like healthcare itself, medical tourism to has its segments. This helps in the regulation of medical tourism as an industry. The reason why this is growing too as a trend is because based on different segments of medical tourism, you can pick a spot to vacation.

Different countries specialise in different aspects of medical treatment. The medical tourism market is segmented into Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, North America and South America.

There are various types of medical treatments one could opt for, like orthopedic or spinal treatments, cancer or oncology treatments, cardiovascular treatments or even dental treatments.

These treatments would otherwise cost patients a fortune in their home countries. But medical tourism saves them with far too much cash in their pockets, with memories of new places visited to cherish for a lifetime.

6. The rise of a market
Nobody wants to miss out on revenue generating industry. Many developed countries that have been losing capital on this frontier are now looking into medical tourism mainly to retain the patients they are losing to developing countries, and also to attract more patients from around the world.

Countries like Mexico and the entire Middle East experience the maximum inflow of medical tourists. Other countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are also joining the bandwagon, to generate some healthy revenue that can aid their developing economies.


The rise of medical tourism is good news to people all around the world. With tourism getting a newer, more medically inclined twist, treatment is no longer an intimidating affair anymore.

People can now bear in mind the trends mentioned above, and concrete their decision about getting treated in a land far away from home. This not only ensures absolute well-being but also a well-deserved break from a mundane schedule.

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