Medical Tourism During Covid Crisis
The world has come to a sudden halt since the COVID 19 virus has come into being. Travelling and tourism are suffering the most in these tragic times. Still, global medical tourism has been permitted by several countries keeping in mind the several health issues faced by people all over the world. It seems to be on the recovery path after dealing with severe blows from the ongoing pandemic and international boundary lockdowns.
The mass cancellations felt like a hit to the hospital industry responsible for catering to medical tourism and foreign patients. Although the recovery recently shows some light at the end of the tunnel and is also quite promising. The countries with a gradually flattening curve of COVID is slowly opening its borders for foreign patients and medical travellers.
Post this coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis; the employment in the tourism sector and hospitality was highest at 35%, and the last grew by 11%. Vulnerable sectors such as the women and youth have been majorly provided with employment by the tourism sector. Despite the alarming number of millions of lost jobs, this is the only sector that could bounce back a lot faster than others. Amid the pandemic, it has become immensely important for the stakeholders to follow the principles of UNTWO global code of ethics for tourism.
The UNTWO has also released a call for action to mitigate a devastating impact on any socio-economic sector and has accelerated the growth too by taking up significant steps in crisis management and also mitigating the effects, furthermore, providing a stimulus in speeding recovery and also a proactive factor planning.
Here are some significant updates that can highlight the possible future medical tourism trends and also hidden opportunities.
Thailand’s Bumrungrad hospital faces a massive drop in the medical tourism business.
The pioneer of medical tourism rise in Thailand, Bumrungrad hospital has faced a massive plunge in the medical travellers owing to the COVID 19 crisis, the revenue earnings have also had a big hit. The highest source of revenue received by hospitals is received on the medical tours that constitute more than 50% o the total patient visits. 632000 international patients were treated in 2019. The countries contributing to the lions share of the revenue were countries like Myanmar, Kuwait and UAE.
Thailand rebuilds its medical tourism ambitions.
Bangkok Post reports that Thailand is looking forward to easing the restrictions to fulfil the medical tourism objectives. The emergency lockdown that ends on 30th may allow the country to resume tours from the neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The afferent patients are to be from this country, whereas it might take some time for the middle eastern and European countries to visit Thailand.
Telemedicine gains more importance in medical tourism.
On 16th May, the Hindustan Times reported that medical tourism companies in Gurugram (India) Has extended the telemedicine services to keep the income flowing constantly. Some of those have already initiated a teleconsultation in countries like Dubai, Uzbekistan, Myanmar and West Asia. After getting the doctors accredited with the respective health authorities, the companies have managed to deliver their services.
The leading online daily total Croatia news says Italy eager to set for medical travel in Croatia.
Italians are eager to start over, but the restrictions are still prevalent. Any Italian could enter Croatia, but COVID has had its impact now. Italian patients make up to nearly 90% of the dental clinics bordering the Adriatic coast. Maybe after 1st and 3rd, the restrictions are lighter. Croatian clinics are gearing up setting up higher standards of hygiene, safety and prevention against infections.
Iran’s tourism, including medical tourism to get back on track soon, reports Tehran time. They are changing norms with health passports and safety certificates.
Turkey’s remarkable COVID management could boost the country’s health tourism fetching $10 billion earning soon, plans to open from 20th May. Predicting low risk of the second wave of coronavirus, turkey plans slow opening medical tourism, repots the Reuter.
Turkey’s lowest single day coronavirus infections raise hope in reviving medical tourism. The country has also undertaken the construction of two new hospitals to add to the convenience to the medical travellers.
Turkey opens up to global medical travellers achieving appreciable control in coronavirus cases. Health tourism certificates to woo foreign travellers to come in more. Cyprus also plans to open, promises to bear the treatment cost of any visitor infected with COVID 19.
Costa Rica reinvents its way to reopen medical tourism. They plan to set up a safety net to the hospital to welcome international cancer patients, dermatology, stem cell therapy in orthopaedics and psychiatry.
Meeting summary of the online conference of the world leader in medical tourism.
- Dr. Anna Weegan- Deutschmedic GmbH, Director
- Christos Petsides, the head of cypres Health Services Promotion Board.
- Aureliusz marek pietruszka, the head of international patients office GVM care &research.
- Swamy Sudhama, Canadian International Healthcare Business Development Consultant, Canada.
- Viktoria Khaitova, VIP Health Ambassador, General Manager, NewYork USA.
- Ivan Rendulic, Rex Rea, Director, Croatia.
- Valadmir Mozetich, President, Kvarnee Health Tourism Cluster President, Croatia.
- Iztok Altbauer, Slovenian Spas Association, President.
- Lara Bulfoni, Associazion Albergatory FIUGGI TERME, Italy.
- Ana laura Ramirez of the Italian Association of medical tourism.
- Csilla Mezosis, European Spa Association, General Secretary.
- Michaela Kehrer – “VisitBerlin Official Board – medical tourism Project Manager Germany.
- Sam Awad, General Manager, GMTP medical group, Agency in Greece.
- Dr. Athanassios A. Exadaktylos MD PhD, President of the panhellenic medical association.
- Mr Igor Torskiy UAMT, Vice President.
- Mrs Julia Odintsova – MedRise agency, managing director.
- Mr. Evgeniy Chernyshev – president of national healthcare (travel council( Russia)).
- Abdallah AlHindawl, international healthcare business dev, consultant & event organizer – Jordan.
- Siyka katsarova.
- Ekaterine Neparidza – director, health and tourism international centre.
- Sionja furnsim
- Hale tokmakcioglu, health care tourism, turkey.
- Dr Abhik Moitra – HBG medical assistance- director.
- Dr Prem Tagyasi, president Dr Prem associates (India).
- Rahul Shukla, international Patient Care, NMC healthcare, UAE.
- Mrs Violette Yanyshevka, the GHTC president and chairman of UAMT.
- Ms Dr Jia Xiao Fang – China international health & medical tourism association (CIHMTA).
Georgia to open for domestic tourism from 15th June, international flights to resume from 1st July. They are fortunately one of the few countries to have successfully restricted the infection to spread locally, resulting in low mortality. Medical tourism in Georgia expects higher demand in treatments like plastic surgery, hair transplantation, dentistry, ophthalmology.
According to the ministry, the priority will be given to international patients having scheduled appointments in Thailand hospitals. However it will be quite tricky as they have to issue new visas and also have to get them approved by the country embassies. The country is not considering to return any general tourist now.
Long waiting times drive Canadians towards the south for surgery. Thailand also plans to allow more international patients once the outbreak is in control.
Mexico is seeing medical tourists from the Texas border amid the pandemic. Hongkong also mulls forming a travel bubble with 11 other countries.
Newly launched hospitals by president Kenyetta is supposed to be the hub of quality healthcare. He thinks that after restrictions are removed, the hospital can be beneficial for both local and international purposes. Malaysia also resumes travel, aims a travel bubble. Israel’s medical tourism gets a boost with the UAE deal.