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History of Medical Tourism:
Medical tourism has been around for centuries, though the concept of traveling for a specific medical procedure has gained enormous popularity in recent years. Its roots can be traced back to Greek pilgrims, who traveled to the small Mediterranean town of Epidauria in the Saronic Gulf. This area was the sanctuary of Asclepios, the god of healing, so Epidauria emerged as the world’s first recorded medical travel destination.
Medical tourism also had a following in the civilizations of the Egyptians, Romans and Japanese. As early as 4,000 BC, the Sumerians were building facilities around hot mineral springs. The Greeks expanded their medical resort industry around 300 BC as therapeutic Asclepia temples based on the original in Epidauria sprang up all over their realm. Hot baths, gymnasiums and temples were normal facilities at the Asclepia temples.
The Egyptians had always practiced a thorough form of medicine, and in 1248 the Mansuri hospital was opened in Cairo. It was the most advanced and largest hospital ever built, and stood on a creed to serve everyone regardless of their race, religion or status. Travelers came from all over the world to seek medical treatment at Mansuri.
Asia also has a history of medical tourism. India has a deep tradition of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine that has been attracting health travelers for 5,000 years. India was one of the world’s great centers of alternative medicine and remains popular today. Japan’s wealth of mineral springs known as onsen have also been favorite health retreats for their therapeutic properties for centuries.
Medical tourism appeared in Europe in the 16th century as the elite rediscovered the ancient Roman baths. Tourist destinations grew up around these spas in places like Bath, Baden Baden, St Moritz and Ville d’Eaux. Bath in particular became globally popular since it enjoyed royal patronage.
In the 18th century, England saw a boom of dedicated spa towns and sanatoriums catering to those who could afford to make the trip. These places were almost always centered around natural hot springs, as the mineral waters were believed to treat all kinds of disease, from gout to bronchitis.
The medical tourism industry has evolved in recent years to focus more on surgical procedures in countries where the cost is significantly cheaper than in the patient’s home nation. Citizens of the United States, for example, often travel to Thailand or India for heart surgery at a fraction of the cost of the same treatment in the US. Cosmetic surgery and dental care are other sectors of health care that can be done abroad.
As a result of the economic savings gained by traveling abroad to get medical procedures done, the booming medical tourism travel industry looks set to continue growing. Today, patients combine their medical treatment with a few days or weeks of relaxing holiday afterwards. The countries providing the medical services are also realizing the huge economic benefits of maintaining this travel niche.
Medical Tourism in Asia:
Asia is the fastest-growing region in the global medical tourism market. In 2016, between 105 and 120 million medical tourists traveled abroad to seek healthcare services. In terms of market size and growth, we put the current medical tourism market size at $120 billion, and the estimate is that the industry is growing by 13 to 15% each year. Accordingly, in 2020 the medical tourism industry will be valued at $256 billion.
The Asian health care market is expanding faster than in other regions, especially driven by the private sector and, notably, medical tourism. Foreign patients are a major revenue generator for private hospitals. Their share represents 40-55 percent of the private hospitals’ revenue in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and especially Thailand. In India, medical tourism accounts for 25 percent of revenue, and in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan, it accounts for 10-15 percent of revenue.
In 2016, the medical tourism sector in Asia-Pacific accounted for 10 million patients and 15-17 billion in revenues. For instance, India attracted more than 4 million medical tourists in 2016, generating around $3 billion in healthcare revenues. Similarly, in Thailand, which has perhaps the most advanced medical tourism sector, 3.5 million foreign patients spent more than 4 billion on healthcare in 2016. In Singapore, medical tourism accounted for almost 1.6 billion with close to 900,000 patients in 2016. The sector will continue to grow 13-15 percent annually for the coming three years.
Affordable high quality medical facilities can make Nepal, one of the best possible hubs for medical tourism where people of various countries can come not only for sightseeing, but also for receiving medical treatments. Such a flow of tourism for sightseeing and medical treatments will capture the attention of policy-makers, researchers and the media. This will also reverse the traditional process of patients travelling from less-developed countries to developed nations in pursuit of the treatments not available in their homelands. Nepal can experience both qualitative and quantitative shifts in patient mobility with state-of-the-art medical technology, as people will travel from richer countries to access cheaper health services and also see unique natural beauties of Nepal. Such shift will increase access to affordable medical services.
Since Nepal has more than 15 dental colleges and hospitals, these institutions, with their specializations, can offer exceptionally high quality services at competitive rates. Not only dental services, but Nepal can offer high quality cardiac services, kidney and lung transplants, ophthalmic services, gastroenterology, orthopedic and neurological treatments at reasonable costs. Over 20 medical colleges in operations and more than 10 medical institutions on the pipeline can provide high quality competitive services in different parts of Nepal. If some of these institutions are re-located to various popular tourist destinations, Nepal truly can provide world class medical tourism services. Outside the Kathmandu Valley, there are many pristine places in the high mountain and hill regions, where Yoga and Naturopathy, Spiritual Pursuits, Bipassana, and Meditation services have been popular. If high quality medical facilities are established in these tourist destinations, they will attract many foreigners. These approaches may help lessen Kathmandu population while ameliorating environmental hazards and providing jobs to people in the rural areas. Such services also will bring foreign currencies to Nepal.
Nepal really needs to materialize the concept of medical tourism where travelers can utilize high quality medical services during their sightseeing trips. Nepal also needs to intertwine the research in physical sciences, biology, engineering, economics, and public health and think seriously about solving problems of complex systems in a holistic approach in which all of these disciplines play a role. Hospital services can be combined with hotel and transportation services through an interactive approach.
Medical tourism needs to be more elastic on pricing than in other forms of tourism. It needs to take into account the quality services while benchmarking it against the high costs. The cost may start from the air ticket, visa, and airport pick-up and drop-off to hotels and variety of food suitable to the culture of the accompanying family members during the period of treatment at the accredited hospitals and sightseeing after the treatments. We should see the India’s medical tourism industry forecasted to reach US$9 billion by 2021, while Dubai may capture a share of over US$45 billion by 2018.
Historically, Nepal has been a popular tourist destination and first choice of the international travelers. Now, it needs to scale-up the healthcare industry to accommodate the needs for million tourists. Tourism industry in the past decade has met with setbacks and disappointments due to political instabilities. Now here, we got the strong and stable government. Nepal can utilize the expertise of various medical institutions to establish the medical tourism centre for medical excellence in areas such as Cardiology, Oncology, Transplantation, Orthopedic, Ophthalmology, Dental and others.
Main drivers for Medical Tourism:
Medical Tourism trend in Asia started due to the following reasons;
Benefits of Medical Tourism Asia Expo 2018:
Develop partnerships with healthcare providers to increase flow of patients
Meet management team of Public, Private & University Hospitals
To know best practices in Ayurveda, Yoga, Homoeopathy & wellness industry
Network & maintain existing relationships with travel operators, tourism boards and medical tourism facilitators
Network with government officials, health departments & authorities, associations & institutions
Gain information on various health & insurance related schemes by service & solution providers
Acquire more knowledge through networking with onsite event participants
Share ideas, concerns and unveil future strategies on pharmaceutical services which include drug manufacturers, pharma machinery and packaging industry, medical devices etc.
Source the latest travel offers in the Nepalese market
Expand your business line and secure contracts
Learn & access about your competitors
Gain brand exposure
Gather information on latest trends in the healthcare, Research & development, medical technology, phama machinery & packaging industry
Collaboration with international healthcare service providers
B2B and B2C meetings for partnership, collaboration and technology sharing
Conduct & conclude deals with travel trade professionals & hospitals for the following travel year
Opportunities & Activities:
Around 100 stalls of Hospitals, Healthcare Service Providers, Pharmaceuticals, Pharma Machinery, Packaging, Food Supplements, Insurance Companies will exhibit their technology, expertise, products and services to attract people from this Expo.
Free Health checkup
Will organize free health checkup service and blood donation program. From that more than 1000 patients will get directly benefited from this Expo.
The objective of this Conference is to promote as a Premier Healthcare Destination and to enable streamlined medical services exports from Nepal. This underlying objective is talent, tradition, technology, tourism and trade.
B2B & B2C Meeting
Get advantage from this competitive industry by arranging meetings with your potential client and customers during the expo.
You can get an excess of international business networking advantage from the Expo.
Technology Sharing & partnership
You can get an opportunity to interact with healthcare leaders from who are providing best healthcare services and doing medical tourism business practice. You can collaborate, association, technology sharing and strategic partnership with them.
WHO ARE PARTICIPATING?
Medical Tourism Asia Expo – 2018, Kathmandu, Nepal
Karki Banquet Hall, Kathmandu, Nepal
6 Aug 2018 to 7 Aug 2018