Medical tourism now bringing new benefits to local people

Reflecting the global increase in people willing to cross borders for treatment, the fast-growing medical tourism sector is in high pro le at ITB Berlin 2019.

ITB Berlin’s CSR and medical tourism officer Rika Jean-François told delegates at the opening of the Medical Tourism Pavilion that the two-way benefits of the industry were becoming increasingly clear. The arrival of international patients was boosting hospitals and clinics, which, in turn, were able to offer their enhanced specialist services to local people. “Governments and private industry really need to work together to bring this sector forward,” she said.

She cited an increase in destinations for medical tourists, particularly in eastern Europe. And she noted that for the rst time India is represented in the pavilion, pointing to a growing emphasis on traditional medicine and treatments.

From relatively niche beginnings, medical tourism has evolved into a global industry currently worth around €100bn a year. Overall, the market is expected to expand by 25% a year over the next decade.

A highlight of the formal opening was the publication of the annual list of the world’s top- ten best hospitals for medical tourists, as ranked by the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) and announced by its president and founder, Julie Munro. Number one this year is the Clemenceau Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon, followed by the Anadolu Medical Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hall 21b