Status Quo of International Health Tourism
※ India: Serving the World with Medical Tourism
India’s net profit from foreign patients hits USD 3 billion each year, with average annual growth rate hitting 20% in 2015. The revenue from medical tourism will reach USD 8 billion in India by 2020. According to incomplete statistics, 150,000 foreign patients received treatment in India in 2014, and the number increased to around 200,000 in 2015.
What is the driving force of medical tourism in India? It is widely believed by the insiders that the patients enjoy first-world services in third-world price. Patients have to pay USD 20,000 to have a cardiac surgery in Russia, while in India they only need to pay USD 6,000. The cost of liver transplantation is more than USD 200,000 in the United States, while that in India is only USD 14,000. In addition, based on patients’ treatment needs, hospitals also arrange rehabilitation tours with Indian characteristics, such as yoga holiday and Taj Mahal tour.
※ South Korea: Discovering the Charm with Medical Tourism
The revenue from foreign patients and their companions along with the value addition is expected to reach KRW 14.58 trillion (about RMB 80 billion) and KRW 4.8 trillion (about RMB 27 billion) in South Korea in 2022, accounting for 0.77% and 0.25% of the estimated GDP of 2022, respectively.
It is natural for people to think of South Korea when mentioning cosmetic plastic surgery. South Korea has become a global leader in cosmetic plastic surgery. Over the years, South Korea’s medical circle and tourism departments have carried out in-depth research on foreign technology and experience. Meanwhile, based on their country’s indigenous advantages, they have developed a medical system for cosmetic plastic surgery to provide services to people who love beauty around the world. Each year, more and more tourists from Asia, America, Europe and Australia head to South Korea for experiencing its impeccable medical tourism services.
※ Japan: Getting Popular with Medical Tourism
More than 400,000 Chinese tourists visited Japan during the National Day holiday in 2015, with the consumption volume reaching JPY 100 billion (about RMB 5.2 billion). However, this time around, most of these tourists bought enzyme-based dietary foods rather than toilet lids. According to a report by Development Bank of Japan, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan for physical examination each year is expected to exceed 310,000 by 2020, and the scale of potential medical tourism market will reach JPY 550.7 billion (about RMB 30.28 billion).
Japan now adopts the principle of “going to the clinic first”. Big hospitals in Japan are seldom overcrowded because most of the patients receive treatment at nearby hospitals. Moreover, many hospitals in Japan are located near commercial streets where tourists can have a rest or go shopping as they wait for the examination report. If patients have to stay in Japan for one or two days, they may go to a hot spring or visit Mount Fuji to experience the exotic scenery and culture. This also extends the tourism chain and increases the value addition from medical tourism.
The global revenue from medical tourism is expected to reach USD 678.5 billion in 2017, accounting for 16% of the total revenue of world tourism. Statistics show that the scale of global medical health tourism industry reached USD 685.3 billion in 2015. The World Health Organization (WHO) has forecasted that medical health-related service industries will become the world’s largest sector by 2020, while the recreational travel-related service industries will be in the second place, together accounting for 22% of global GDP.