Due to the availability of world-class medical infrastructure and skilled manpower, Asian medical tourism market is expected to be worth around US$ 9.1 Billion by 2012, RNCOS identified.

PRLog (Press Release)Jan 04, 2011 – According to our latest report entitled “Asian Medical Tourism Analysis (2008-2012)”, the Asian medical tourism industry is currently growing at a double-digit growth rate. The availability of world-class healthcare infrastructure and skilled medical professionals along with low cost treatments are some of the key factors that are driving the market growth. The growth momentum is expected to continue in future also and it is expected that around 5.6 Million health tourists will visit Asian countries by 2012 spending around US$ 9.1 Billion in return.
The report has covered current market performance and analysis of the key Asian countries such as, Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines. These countries have witnessed a significant development in the area of health tourism on the back of the government support and private investments. It is estimated that more than 4.3 Million medical tourists will visit these countries during 2010, generating combined revenue worth over US$ 6.7 Billion.

Our report has found out that India can be regarded as the most attractive and potential medical destination in key Asian countries. India has the advantage of well-known hospital chains that offer splendid range of health services and treatments at low prices. Patients from developed countries such as, the US, Germany, and the UK prefer to visit India due to English speaking population and attractive tourist places.

The report “Asian Medical Tourism Analysis (2008-2012)” covers all the important aspects of health tourism market in Asian countries providing statistics and an in-depth analysis of the key regions and segments. The report also provides comprehensive research and unbiased analysis of current market performance and future outlook. The future projection in key segments and variables has been calculated after proper utilization of effective methods and techniques. Analysis of key market trends that may have an impact on the overall market performance has also been covered. Besides, description and recent developments of key market players has been discussed.

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destination medical tourismWhen Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, launched a bid for control of Singapore’s Parkway Holdings healthcare group earlier this year, it triggered a cross-border takeover battle involving companies in three Asian countries.

The tussle demonstrates the high value attached by the rival bidders to Parkway’s extensive hospital network, which the bidders hoped to use to create a leading Asian healthcare provider – and capitalise on the region’s fast-growing medical tourism industry.

Demand for private medical services has been growing in Asia as incomes rise, propelled by soaring economies.

India’s healthcare market alone was worth about $38bn in 2009, and is expected to increase by $62.9bn during the next four years, according to Fortis Healthcare.

The ageing population of the developed world – especially patients without health insurance or facing long queues at over-burdened national healthcare services – is also helping to boost demand for the stock-in-trade of many of Asia’s medical destinations.

These include heart bypasses, hip replacements, and dental work.

India, meanwhile, has emerged as a popular destination for western couples seeking fertility treatment – including surrogate mothers willing to bear their children.

But much of Asia’s medical tourism is still intra-regional, or from the Middle East and Africa, with a flow of patients from countries with less developed healthcare infrastructure towards those with better hospitals.

However, healthcare has not been immune to the global financial crisis. The economic situation has hit demand “because elective surgery is being delayed”, says Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions.

At Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital, one of the best established medical tourism destinations, profits improved in 2009, but are still 22 per cent down on the pre-crisis peak of 2007.

In the medium term, many providers in the region are looking to the US healthcare market for more growth. A heart bypass operation that might cost $130,000 in the US could cost less than $30,000 in Bangkok, for example.

But so far, such cost savings have mainly appealed to patients without health insurance, with many western insurers still reluctant to pay for what they perceive to be the risks of foreign treatment.

Singapore was an early mover in healthcare tourism, helped by its strategic location in south-east Asia and the rising demand for private hospitals that comes with per capita incomes that are approaching US levels.

Parkway, just one one of several private healthcare providers in the city-state, has also shown that middle class patients from developing countries such as Indonesia can be tempted to make the short flight to Singapore for a standard of healthcare that is difficult or impossible to obtain in their own countries.

For example, it is common to hear Bahasa Indonesia spoken in Parkway’s Mount Elizabeth facility, just off the Orchard Road shopping centre, which was the first hospital in Asia to perform cardiomyoplasty surgery for heart failure successfully with a laser.

Parkway runs three hospitals in Singapore, with a fourth under development, plus one in energy-rich Brunei, six in China and two in India. In addition, it runs 11 in Malaysia, including nine operated by the Pantai group, in which it has a 40 per cent stake, with Khazanah holding the remaining 60 per cent.

Enthused by Singapore’s example, Malaysia’s government has identified private healthcare as one of 11 key sectors for development, alongside more traditional strengths such as energy and tourism.

According to Malaysian health ministry figures, the nascent industry is already showing its value – revenues per patient grew by 12 per cent between the first half of 2008 and the comparable period of last year, reflecting a steady increase in the range and sophistication of treatments.

Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, recently announced a series of initiatives to promote the industry, including tax breaks for new hospitals aimed at medical tourists, simplified visa requirements for patients and incentives for medical specialists to work in the country.

The sector’s prospects are attracting other new entrants, such as Taiwan, South Korea and India.

In Taipei, the Department of Health has set up a special unit to help develop and promote the industry, and the government has set aside and near the international airport to be developed into a medical tourism centre.

The Department of Health estimates that with government support, Taiwan’s nascent medical tourism industry will grow by T$11bn ($342m) and create 3,860 jobs within four years.

The Confederation of Indian Industry estimates foreign medical tourism could also be a $2.4bn business for the country within a few years.

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(Additional reporting by Robin Kwong in Taipei,  ft.com)

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