News / Asia

Demand for Medical Tourism Expected to Continue Growing in Asia

Ira Mellman

Medical tourism has become one of the most quickly expanding business in the world, particularly in Asia.

Contrary to what many have proclaimed, international travel to seek health care is nothing new. “Ancient Romans used to actually travel to areas which are now called Switzerland and Turkey for thermal spas. The trend has become renewed due to a variety of things, not the least of which is technology, globalization and more consumerism within healthcare," said Dr. David Vequist heads the Center for Medical Tourism Research in San Antonio, Texas.

He said the expanding and aging population worldwide is leading to a change in the way people seek healthcare. “We’re looking at a situation where healthcare demand is increasing while around the world, the number of resources is declining to some extent. The people are getting more picky and they’re having more opportunities to try to select the best healthcare available. So it looks like a lot of competition, a lot of travel, declining or scarce resources in many places around the world," he said.

Many developing countries, especially in Asia, are providing medical services that are on a par or in some cases exceed those available in the west. In addition, Vequist says the services being offered are expanding.

“According to studies that our center has done. The Center for Medial Tourism Research, we found that dental may be upwards from 20 to 30 percent of all of the procedures that are done and for travel around the world. It also includes spa, health and wellness and an exciting area we’re trying to study right now is the area of retirement tourism where people are travelling even more from their home countries to other countries for the purposes of costs to live there as well as for healthcare. People are going to other countries and other locations because there is better healthcare or in some cases more healthcare available," he said.

In fact, many such retirement communities featuring healthcare services, as well as international medical tourism facilities, are cropping up across the world. This, says Vequist, is leading to a new type of healthcare structure.

“The thing that’s going on is that most of these tourism hubs or tourist locations typically are private facilities. What is happening, and you see this more so in Asia than you do in many other regions around the world, is a two tiered system. A public and private system is provided to people who do not have additional expendable income to spend on healthcare. And then what you see is as people increase in affluence, they’re choosing better healthcare for them and their families, and then they’re travelling. And increasingly as the internet access makes everything available, particularly information, people are finding out about healthcare not only in their own country but outside of their country that they can access. So people are travelling more and more frequently for healthcare," he said.

While Vequist says international medical tourism presents a great investment opportunity, many others are worried that more medical tourists, as predicted, will bring future problems for the healthcare industry in the United States.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs