Global medical tourism in 2020 and the impact of Covid-19

2020 was a tough year for business, unless you’re Amazon or Zoom! But certain industries were hit harder by the impact of Covid-19 than others, with the Tourism Industry taking one of the heaviest blows of them all.

Hospitality and airlines are the industries we mostly hear about, with the niche tourism sectors not getting much of a mention. One of them being the Medical Tourism niche, an industry that was steadily gaining popularity over the past 5 years.

Thailand positioned itself as the primary destination for medical tourists in SE Asia, with other popular destinations being Turkey, Mexico, and Poland to name a few. So when the international travel bans took hold and elective surgeries were being canceled or postponed, it was the major international hospitals and the smaller clinics left out of pocket.

Certain medical facilities in Thailand, like Bumrungrad Hospital rely heavily on their international patients. They fly in for their check ups, treatments or surgeries, spend a few weeks recovering and a few hundred thousand Baht around Thailand before heading home again. So it’s not only the medical facilities that lose out but also the local businesses that cater for these foreign patients and their families during their recovery.

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Just like Booking and Agoda, the tech platforms that aggregate all the facilities and their procedures into simple to use web portals have also been heavily impacted, with fewer people searching and booking online. One of these companies is Thailand based MyMediTravel, who were forced to reduce costs across the board by 70% last year.

Company CEO, Darren Lyons, believes “the industry is unlikely to pickup much until Q4 of this year” with ‘Vaccination Tourism‘ playing a minor role. This is where wealthy tourists from countries struggling to push their vaccines out, can travel overseas and pay for theirs out of their own pocket.

The team at MyMediTravel conducted a survey last December of their patients and medical providers to gauge a better understanding of how the industry is likely to progress after the interruptions caused in 2020. A copy of this 29-page document is available on their website to download for free, just click below:

Global Medical Tourism and the Impact of Covid-19 in 2020



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