Medical tourists to China doubled in six years, prospects seem brighter

Published on : Wednesday, April 30, 2014

medical-tourismFor quite some time now medical tourism has been a new way of integrating leisure travel and medical services. Statistics show that worldwide number of medical tourists increased from 20 million in 2006 to 40 million in 2012. They spend 10 times or even more of what the ordinary tourist will while traveling.

In South Korea medical tourism, and especially cosmetic surgery, has won an international reputation. Statistics produced by the Justice Department in Korea show that the number of foreign travelers who have received medical services in Korea increased from 2,545 tourists in 2011 to 15,688 in 2012 and to 25,176 in 2013. Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines are the top five destinations for medical tourism in the world. The medical tourism industry in China is still nascent.

The situation may improve very soon. In August Hainan government invested $27 million to build an International standard nursing home in Sanya. It also plans to establish a Chinese health care center and promote a number of Chinese Traditional Medicine brands to make Hainan a new international destination for medical tourism.

Like South Korea, known for the plastic surgery, Thailand, known for dental services, Switzerland, known for anti-aging services, and U.S., known for cancer treatment, China also boasts a wealth of medical tourist specialties. Jia Xiaofang, spokesperson for the China International Medical Tourism Association, said that China has a lot of advantages in terms of developing medical tourism, including a high level of technology, lower prices, and Chinese Traditional Medicine.

Hainan has now launched the TCM travel tour in China and welcomed tourists from Russia, Sweden, UK, USA, Italy and Kazakhstan. Tourists generally come to Hainan in winter or spring, and spend two weeks receiving acupuncture and ‘Ai smoke therapy’, and also enjoying the beach in the sunshine. It is a common practice in China now that some travel agencies prepare medical travel packages structured according to the health needs of individual clients and provide air tickets, visa, hotel and translation services. By March, more than 30,000 foreign tourists had received TCM services in Hainan, each spending an average of about $20,000 on their medical services。





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