Medical Tourism Business – A Complete Guide

Across the world, there is an emerging class of voyagers who are crossing international borders to obtain a range of medical services from dental care to liposuction. This type of travel is known as medical or healthcare tourism.

Business in this sector is booming. On a global scale, healthcare tourism is higher than oil and gold industry.

If you have plans to enter the medical tourism industry, this blog is for you. We hope that this blog will guide and help you make an informed decision.

What Is Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism involves traveling to another country for the purpose of getting care.

Originally, patients from less-developed countries traveled to developed countries to get treatments that were not available in their homeland.

Today, people from developed countries travel to developing countries to get health care services. This shift is driven by low-cost treatments offered by developing countries, inexpensive flights and the easy availability of online information about medical services.

The word ‘tourism’ is included in this because in most cases people stay in a foreign country to get medical assistance. So, travelers can take advantage of this situation to get to know the country in that short time.

According to the WHO, here are the main drivers of medical tourism.

Medical Tourism Business – A Complete Guide (graphical representation of a consumer’s path to medical tourism) - ColorWhistle

Here is a graphical representation of a consumer’s path to medical tourism by Deloitte

Types of Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is one of the highly emerging concepts in the tourism industry. There are three main categories in medical tourism.

  • Outbound medical tourism – In this type of tourism, a person leaves the country of their origin to another country to get medical help. For example, leaving Denver to get medical care in India
  • Inbound medical tourism – In this type of tourism, a person from another country travels to a host country to get medical help. For example, leaving Canada to get medical treatment in the US
  • Domestic medical tourism – In this type of tourism, a person travels to another city in the same country to get medical help. For example, leaving Texas to get medical treatment in New York

Top Medical Tourism Destinations in The World

According to Bookimed and Medical Tourism Magazine, here is a list of the top medical tourism destinations in the world.

S.noCountry People from which countries travel to this destination?Which types of medical treatments are famous here?
1.ThailandUSA, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Vietnam, and LaosOrthopedics, oncology, plastic surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology, HIV/AIDS treatment, deliveries, etc
2.Malaysia UnknownOrthopedics, ophthalmology, cardiology, IVF, neurology, gastroenterology, oncology, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and health screening.
3.Turkey Middle East, North Africa, North America, Europe and RussiaNeurosurgical, ophthalmological, oncological, cardiac and orthopedic diseases
4.SingaporeUnknownOrthopedic surgeries, cardiac surgeries, cancer and oncology, neurology and neurosurgery, cosmetic surgery, dental services, bariatric surgeries, pediatrics and non-surgical rejuvenation
5.India Bangladesh, Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, America, Canada and EuropeTransplantation,
cardiac surgery and
6.South KoreaUnknown Oncology,
dermatology and
Invasive spinal surgery
7.Germany Unknown Oncology,
cardiac surgery,
orthopedics and
8.SwitzerlandBrazil, China, India and Middle Eastern countriesPlastic and multidisciplinary treatments
9.TaiwanUnknown Cardiac diseases, orthopedic conditions and liver transplant
10.SpainGreat Britain, France, the USA and Near EastNeurosurgery,
orthopedics and
11.BrazilUnknownHub of cosmetic and plastic surgery
12.IsrealMostly from the CIS countriesOncology, neurosurgery and
13.Costa Rica UnknownDentistry, cosmetic surgery, eye surgery, cancer therapy and bariatric surgery.

What Are The Business Models for Medical Tourism?

Here are the different types of business models in medical tourism.

1. Business to Customer

This model involves targeting patients through online marketing and connecting them to the provider. It is also known as direct to patient model

2. Business to Business

This model involves doctors directly referring to other doctors or hospitals. It is also known as provider to provider model

3. Exporting Brand Presence

Exporting brand presence means bringing your brand to the patients directly. For example, many US hospitals want to mark their presence in China

4. Payer Driven

In this model, a payer or employer who is looking to reduce the cost for their insureds will ask them to get medical care away from their homes. The payer or employer may also give incentives for doing it

5. Additional Information

These are some other ways medical tourism businesses earn money.

  • Commission – The hospital will pay a fee to the facilitator for sending patients to them
  • Revenue – The tourism company will decide the treatment cost of the patient. After the patient makes the payment to the company, it will settle the bill with the hospital. The difference is the actual revenue earned by the company
  • Other information – After surgery, people may want to go shopping in the city or even take a vacation. The medical tourism company can also charge a commission for these activities

How to Start a Medical Tourism Service Agency?

If you are planning to start a medical tourism business, here are some points you must consider.

Analyze The Industry and Understand Your Clientele

Analyzing the medical sector of a particular destination will help you to easily determine where you want to target your business. For example, India is famous for heart surgery while Thailand is famous for HIV/AIDS treatment and Spain for neurosurgery.

Understand why certain people prefer to travel for treatment and what type of help you can provide to satisfy their needs.

Additionally, analyze the strong points of the locations you want to choose from. For instance, Germany is known for using cutting-edge equipment and Costa Rica is well known for its world-class plastic surgeons.

Next, you must get a market needs assessment and financial feasibility study from service providers such as The Fox Group. You must also figure out the financial plan. and talk with industry experts to figure out how much to charge for the services you offer.

Certifications, Permits and License

You may be required to undergo training and licensing before opening up the business. Displaying badges from recognized accreditation bodies on your website and other materials will give a message to tourists that your business is properly managed and has undergone rigorous evaluations.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is a prominent healthcare accreditation organization in the US. They formed the Joint Commission International (JCI) to help medical tourism businesses find good healthcare providers around the globe. For example, The Apollo Hospitals was the 1st one in India to get this certification. Click here to view the full list of the medical tourism industry certifications.

Other Points To Keep In Mind

  • Insurance is one of the most important elements in the medical tourism business. Make sure that the policy your clients have will cover most of the sections of your business
  • To make your client’s medical trip smooth, you have to coordinate and collaborate with the whole medical tourism network. They include travel agencies, hotels, airlines, insurance providers, translators and dealing with the embassy
  • Most people find medical tourism-based services online. So, creating a website is important when you are planning to start a medical tourism business A professional website design and development company will have the core expertise to create a customized solution according to your requirements. So, it is highly recommended that you get help from such professionals
  • Have a good online marketing plan to spread the word of your business. You can also get help from digital marketing experts to get high-quality results

Medical Tourism Statistics And Facts

Here are some interesting statistics and facts you need to know about the medical tourism industry.

  • According to a CII-Grant Thornton study, the Indian medical tourism market is expected to grow from the current $3 billion to around $8 billion by 2020.
  • According to MarketWatch, Global Medical Tourism Market will grow at a CAGR of 16.1% during the forecast period 2019-2025
  • According to BD Health & Fitness, Medical tourism is one of Turkey’s fastest-growing industries and is estimated to contribute $4 Billion to the country’s economy annually
  • According to Statistica, 53% of EU citizens are willing to travel to another country for better quality treatment
  • According to CNN, India’s medical tourism industry could grow by 200% by 2020, hitting $9 billion
  • According to Statistics, here is the percentage of adults in the U.S. who had traveled abroad specifically to receive medical treatment
Medical Tourism Business – A Complete Guide (Medical Tourism Statistics 1) - ColorWhistle
  • According to Statistica, as of 2019, here is the percentage of adults in the U.S. who had traveled abroad specifically to receive medical treatment and were satisfied with their treatment
Medical Tourism Business – A Complete Guide (Medical Tourism Statistics 2) - ColorWhistle
  • This graph explains the growth of the medical tourism market
Medical Tourism Business – A Complete Guide (Medical Tourism Statistics 3) - ColorWhistle

Top Medical Tourism Service Providers in The World

Here are some of the top medical tourism companies in the world.

Useful Guides About Medical Tourism

Here are some guides which will help you to get more information about the medical tourism industry.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are revolutionizing medical tourism and it’s going to be the next big thing in the industry. Here are some of the medical tourism companies that have already created mobile apps and attracting the attention of medical travelers. If you need any help to create a mobile app, you can contact our ColorWhistle team anytime.

  • HealthTraveler™
  • TaiwanTrade
  • MediApp
  • MedTourism
  • HealthTraveler
  • PlacidMobile
  • 3rdpot

Drive Conversions and Boost your Business with Expert Travel Website Development.


Medical tourism service providers play a crucial role in making the travel experience easy and comfortable.

Here are some of the basic facilities that a good medical tourism facilitator must provide.

  • Custom treatment packages
  • Round the clock support and guidance
  • Assistance for procuring a medical visa letter
  • Timely doctor appointments
  • Quick in-patient admissions
  • Money exchange
  • Safe accommodation
  • Provide local sim cards
  • Proper end-to-end transportation guidance
  • Post-treatment follow-ups
  • And more!

International healthcare services are booming because of the globalization of capital funding and advancement in medical technology. The changing technologies and economic conditions have created many opportunities for patients and businesses in world-wide medical tourism.

The future of medical tourism will be profitable as experts predict the revenue growth to be in billions of dollars in the coming years.

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About the Author - Anjana

Anjana is a full-time Copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. She writes about website technologies, digital marketing, and industries such as travel. Plus, she has an unhealthy addiction towards online marketing, watching crime shows, and chocolates.


  1. Great Post!
    Really happy to say that your post is fascinating to read. I never stop myself from saying anything about it. Expecting more blogs.

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