Niche Tourism

Why Health Tourism Has Become Popular For Surgery

As any an avid traveller will have noticed, there’s a new type of tourist appearing on our flights. They’re not venturing to Kenya to visit family; they’re not travelling to Ghana to find themselves. No, instead they’re hopping aboard a plane to receive some form of surgical procedure abroad. This niche tourism sector is known as Health Tourism (aka Medical Tourism), and here at Tourism Tattler, we’re going to take a look at why it’s become so popular.

According to a report issued by VISA and Oxford Economics projects, Medical Tourism has grown by up to 25% year-on-year, creating an industry worth $3 trillion by 2025.

It’s Affordable

As anyone who lives in a sophisticated metropolitan city or country will know, any form of medical treatment tends to come at a premium, especially when the procedure involves surgery, completed for purely cosmetic reasons.

This is why so many Brits have begun to travel for a Polish tummy tuck, a Brazilian bum lift or even for a Turkey hair transplant performed at high-quality clinics and you can hardly blame them, especially when they’re saving so much on their respective treatments. 

According to the article ‘Growth in Medical Tourism to South Africa‘, South Africa offers an affordable alternative for many cosmetic procedures, thanks to the weak rand. For example, a breast augmentation procedure that costs US$8,000 in the UK would cost about $3,600 in South Africa, according to Medical Tourism SA, a consultancy firm that offers total health care information for medical travellers.

American patients who pay about $12,400 for in vitro fertilisation, a procedure that helps a woman become pregnant, can expect to pay a third of that in South Africa.

It’s Just As Sophisticated

Although you’re likely to see a few scaremongering posts on tabloid websites, with another horror story of a botched surgery abroad, there’s very little evidence to suggest that the procedures or the equipment used to perform them are any less advanced than those in America or in the UK.

In fact, many of the clinics, facilities and hospitals abroad have exactly the same resources as their counterparts in the USA and UK. It’s just that their currencies are weaker than the US dollar or British pound, so the procedures themselves come in at a much more affordable price.

It Has The Same Level Of Care

Similar to the type of facility where medical tourists tend to receive their treatment, the doctors, surgeons, and nurses who attend to the procedures will also be professionally trained to the same level as their colleagues based in the USA or UK.

As Martha Lagace from the Harvard Business School explains in an investigation, auxiliary health care providers, doctors or nurses will often travel to a specific country where they feel their care is needed most.

So if they want to work at an elite cosmetic surgery outside of their native country, they’ll be more than happy to up their life and move over. This is why you’ll often find that doctors who work at medical tourist centres are of a different cultural descent.

So there you have it, we hope this article has gone some way to helping you uncover why medical tourism has become so popular in surgical practices. If you ever intend undergoing medical treatment abroad, we implore that you do your research first. The Medical Tourism Association would be a good place to start your research. Happy travels!

Header image Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via Flickr by Rawpixel Ltd.

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