Asia Pacific Medical Tourism Market size crossed USD 3.1 billion in 2020 and is predicted to record a CAGR of around 12.9% between 2021 and 2027.
Medical tourism is the set of activities that involves traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of getting quality medical care. Medical tourism also referred to the travel of patients from less-developed nations to developed countries to avail the medical treatments that may not be available in their home country. Numerous advantages of medical tourism such as lower costs, insurance incentives, and vacation in a foreign country are accelerating the demand and adoption of medical tourism in healthcare.
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Rising awareness regarding the medical tourism among patients coupled with the growing ease and availability of advanced treatment options in the Asia Pacific region is contributing to the Asia Pacific medical tourism market growth. Emerging countries in the region are emphasizing on the development of advanced healthcare infrastructure while minimizing costs. For instance, Japan is considered as the most preferred place for oncology treatments owing to its specialty in heavy particle radiotherapy & regenerative medicine and robot-assisted surgeries.
As per the World Health Organization, Singapore is one of the top health care systems in Asia and sixth in the world attributed to its efficient socialist health care model. Every year over half a million medical tourist visits Malaysia due to the country’s well-developed infrastructure and easy availability of services such as in vitro fertilization and sophisticated treatment for burn victims. Furthermore, many countries in the region have set up agencies to attract medical tourists for health procedures and increase awareness among patients pertaining to medical tourism.
Increasing government policies to ease medical travel and improve the quality of care delivery is set to dramatically impact the Asia Pacific medical tourism market. For instance, the government of Japan has funded a large national initiative to improve medical technologies to enhance the performance and quality of healthcare delivery. In 2016, over 1.2 million medical tourists visited Malaysia attributed to various government initiatives, patient-friendly policies, and high-standard health tourism facilities. Furthermore, in 2016, more than 900,000 international patients visited Singapore due to its excellence in cardiology, neurology, oncology, and stem cell therapy that results in high revenue levels per patient.
The government of South Korea has focused on the expansion of inbound medical tourism through targeted investments and a high concentration of health care facilities. The medical tourism sector in India mainly emphasizes on transplant, orthopedic, cardiac, and other treatments coupled with offering a special visa category to ease the visits of the rising number of foreign patients. Moreover, a surge in the popularity of medical tourism has caught the attention of researchers, policymakers, media, etc.
The cardiovascular surgery segment held significant Asia Pacific medical tourism market revenue of over USD 465 million in 2020. The high market size is attributed to the technology, advanced medical care, and easy accessibility to numerous procedures & therapies, among others. Common heart diseases in developing countries include congenital heart disease, rheumatic heart valve disease, endomyocardial fibrosis, etc. For instance, in recent years, Japan has become one of the preferred destinations for cardiovascular procedures due to cutting-edge treatments, cleanliness, and advanced technologies that offers robot therapy.
The Asian Heart Institute in India considered as the top destination for cardiac bypass surgery due to fewer restrictions on citizens of many countries and the easy availability of highly trained professionals. The collective effort from local governments, NGOs, international volunteers, and private benefactors in the region to enable sufficient cardiac care will spur the Asia Pacific medical tourism market revenue. Furthermore, the countries in the region including Singapore and Thailand are offering quality healthcare, little or no waiting periods, JCI-accredited medical facilities, state-of-the-art medical technology for cardiovascular surgeries.
India medical tourism market revenue in 2020 was over USD 353 million due to the country's advanced facilities, skilled physicians, low-cost treatment, and finest medical services, among others. Medical tourism in India is estimated to surge owing to rising awareness related to alternative medicine and improved facilities in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bangalore among others. For instance, in 2017, over 495,000 foreign patients visited India for medical or surgical treatments.
As per the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Ernst & Young report, majority of the international patient arrivals in India were from Southeast Asia, MEA, and SAARC region in 2019. The government of India has expanded its e-tourism VISA regime in February 2019 to boost applications and ease the travel process for medical tourists. The hospitals in India are emphasizing the use of the latest technology to provide modern medical treatments. Healthcare in Chennai is managed by both private hospitals & the government and attracts about 45% of medical tourists from abroad arriving in India. Additionally, India has over 500 accredited healthcare providers that focus on delivering immediate service and care to patients at an affordable cost. India has also actively engaged in promoting traditional practices such as Yoga and Ayurveda along with modern medical practices.
Prominent companies in the Asia Pacific medical tourism market are Apollo Hospital Enterprise Limited, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Fortis Healthcare Limited, KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Manipal Hospital, Max Healthcare, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Narayana Health, Raffles Medical Group, NTT Medical Center, Asian Heart Institute, and Prince Court Medical Centre, among others.
These medical tourism market players are undertaking several inorganic strategies such as collaborations, mergers and acquisitions to maintain their position. For instance, in January 2019, the Raffles Medical Group announced the opening of Raffles Hospital Chongqing. It is Singapore’s first international tertiary hospital in China and aids the China-Singapore initiative on strategic connectivity. This move has enabled the hospital to cater to more medical tourists and generate more revenues.