The Effects of Medical Tourism

Does the increasing spread of medical tourism affect the economy more positively or negatively?


In this report, my focus is to identify and understand what medical tourism means, explore the reasons for it spreading, and provide evidence to whether medical tourism positively affects the economy or negatively. Dr. Meštrović (2018) defines medical tourism as “the process of traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care”. This includes dental and surgical care also. Hypothesis‘If medical tourism continues to spread, it will have a positive impact on the economy’ Reasons for the increasing spread of medial tourism people mainly travel to medical centers in well-developed countries to receive good quality treatments.

However, in recent years, we can identify that there has been a rise in people from well-developed countries traveling to undeveloped, third-world countries receiving medical care. This is mostly due to low-cost treatments available in some countries. According to a man named Craver (2016)

One of the main reasons medical tourism is spreading is because people want to save money.

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Below is an image demonstrating how much money can be saved by participating in medical tourism: Kelley (2013)A report by Visa Oxford Economics projected that the number of Americans traveling abroad for medical care will increase by 25% annually over the next decade, meaning an estimated 1.4 million people will leave the United States for treatment this year (Braverman, 2018). Swenson (2019) researched that the estimated that a knee replacement costing $35000 to $65000 in the United States can be obtained for only $23000 in Costa Rica or India.

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This includes the cost of travel and accommodation. Also, being on a long waiting list in times of desperation for certain procedures can encourage a person to seek help elsewhere. As there have been improvements in both technology and the standards of care in many countries, this has given more people the confidence in order to travel and receive medical help. Both world health experts A.NaRanong and V.NaRanong (2011) state that medical tourists are increasing at a rapid pace – from almost none to 450 000 a year in less than a decade.

Furthermore, some treatments are more accessible and can be scheduled sooner than other countries' facilities; this may be due to staffing and nursing shortages (Deloitte 2018). In Thailand, “Medical tourism generates a value-added approximately equal to 0.4% of the GDP.” Helping increase income for many medical service sectors and related businesses, providing intangible benefits. (NaRanong and NaRanong 2011). From a social perspective, simply living longer and having a desire to be healthy is the main reason people travel to receive medical treatments.

Provides job opportunities beyond hospitals and doctors, e.g. taxi drivers, physiotherapists, nursing care agencies, and even souvenir vendors. Regardless of health issues, people tend to travel seasonally as they don’t solely travel for medical purposes but intend to tour the country. Seasonal visits impact people who depend on this particular industry for employment. Provides tax revenues and tourism for consumers As people are providing specialist services, it is impacting the local industries as their consumers are going elsewhere. Generates millions of revenues by the direct foreign exchange earnings (Casper, 2018). The decline in workers’ productivity could arise as a result of reducing public health care provision, due to the expansion of the medical tourism sector (Beladi et al., 2017. Pp. 121-135).Businesses profit from administering specialist treatments. Some medical tourists do not respect the environment of countries they seek treatment from. For example, not respecting the ‘no litter policy’ in some countries and therefore negatively impacting the environment. This is costly for the government as they have to spend money to repair the problems. Providing publicity and advertisement to their country, therefore promoting economic growth.

Having to accommodate for more buildings, accommodations, hospital facilities, treatment, and diagnostic centers is a burden and a negative economic infrastructure for a country.A.NaRanong and V.NaRanong (2011) found that medical tourists tend to seek more intensive and costly treatments than other foreign patients, as a result of which their effect on the country is more profound. Richer countries are able to profit from medical tourism more than poorer countries. One reason for this is because tourism expenditures leave the country to pay for the demands of tourists, for example, medical equipment. Casper (2018) stated that medical tourism is one of the fastest-growing economies in the Healthcare industry, is Medical Tourism It is one of the largest industries in the world with an annual turnover exceeding 1.75 trillion USD, (Positive Negative Impact 2018)


Procedures and methods will conduct a questionnaire for my area of study as they are inexpensive – it will be produced online; this will allow me to cover all aspects of my topic.

Executing a questionnaire allows me to gather primary data in a standardized and faster way, as the sample size requirements can be met quickly. Granting me access to both open and closed questions and creating quantitative and qualitative data. In addition to this, there is no pressure from the researcher, due to participants not feeling the need to alter their answers, eliminating social desirability. Also having a familiar format to the respondents will make them feel more comfortable. Anonymity is also ensured due to the nature of the research method – conducted in an unbiased manner. Samples usedThe sample I will be using will mainly be aimed at people who work in the healthcare sector. Reasons for this is because they will experience the effects medical tourism has economically, the most. I aim to ask a vast majority of people to provide fluidity of answers, identifying patterns and trends, providing more accurate results, and therefore leaving a smaller possibility of error. I will be using a large sample also to demonstrate a representative sample and increase reliability and allows generalizations and comparisons to be made.


A.NaRanong and V.NaRanong (2011). WHO|The effects of medical tourism: Thailand’s Experience):, H et al (2019). ‘Does Medical Tourism Promote Economic Growth?’ Pp. 121-135: (2016) ‘Medical tourism on the rise’: Cathy (2016) ‘Negative Economic Impacts of Tourism’. Deloitte (2018) ‘Global health care outlook The evolution of smart health care’, E. (2013). ‘Medical Tourism’ Tomislav Meštrović (2018). What is Medical Tourism? Negative Impact (2018). ‘Positive and negative impact of tourism on the economy - Positive Negative Impact’: Rohit Casper (2018) ‘Has the Economic growth of Medical Tourism developed rapidly?’:

Updated: Aug 12, 2021
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The Effects of Medical Tourism. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from

The Effects of Medical Tourism essay
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