6/30/2009: The global medical travel industry, estimated to be worth US$50 billion, is expected to see annual growth rates of 15-20%, and double in size to US$100 billion by 2012, according to a ChannelNewsAsia report.
Experts say more than half of this growth will be led by India, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea because of their solid infrastructure and strong government support.
These countries are expected to be the biggest gainers as patients from the West seek cheaper alternatives abroad. Americans are expected to make the bulk of such travellers, with US medical care costs forecast to rise by about 9% next year, the report stated.
Ruben Toral, President of International Medical Travel Association, said; “All of the industry is trying to look at how we can engage the US insurers. Many of the players are looking at the 50 million uninsured as the jackpot, if you will.”
But the industry is getting more competitive, with more countries in the region - such as Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia - looking to tap into the sector. Experts say that the countries which will come out ahead will be those who can integrate the healthcare and travel aspects into an attractive package.