A Guide to the Best Medical Tourist Locations Across the Globe

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Medical tourist is the brand-new buzzword industry in lots of industrialized nations. With health care costs spiraling through the roofing system in developed nations like the US and UK, individuals affected are looking towards alternate destinations to obtain their treatments taken care of at lower expenses with an additional satisfaction of the chance to see the other lands. Nations in the mystic east, for example, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia are maximizing it due to their advanced medical facilities they use in addition to their being chosen locations for tourist. This market has spread to South Africa, South America  in addition to east European nations like Hungary. The market is growing every day is estimated to grow by 250% by 2012 kind a mere $40 billion in 2004.

Medical tourism is likewise slated to generate secondary benefits to the destination countries by pumping up their economy and will likewise gel well with foreign investors who currently have a stake in these nations. This short article provides five leading medical tourism locations which present the most attractive chances. We have actually picked these based upon the quality and cost of medical care provided and their offering to FDI (foreign direct investment). These nations are mainly English speaking and hence there should be no hiccups in getting world class treatment there.


Located just south of the United States, Panama is in close distance and provides very inexpensive and high quality health care. Based on present contrasts, a surgery carried out in Panama expenses 40-70% lower than throughout the United States according to the NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis) repot published last November. The cost of surgery carried out by Panama health care is fairly higher than the South East Asian countries however that is made up by the savings on the airline tickets, due to its proximity with the US. Moreover, Panama is likewise highly “Americanized” and thus is a favorite location of many travelers – general and medical.

Panama’s official currency is the United States Dollar and many healthcare experts are US trained. This makes certain that the logistics of traveling are lesser and medical travelers are not in for impolite culture shock when they go to Panama.

Panama’s economy is greatly depending on the services market and hence medical tourism would have a positive influence on the very same. With a surplus of more than 1.5 million (according to CIA World Factbook) knowledgeable labor force, Panama will be a force to reckon with in the services industry.

Panama, compared to other South American nations has a United States dependent economy and is attempting to foster its trade ties with the US. It likewise has free trade agreement with the US (checked in December 2006) and does not participate in the CAFTA (Central America Open market Arrangement). Panama likewise welcomes foreign investment with open arms particularly in tourism, service associated industries and Panama realty.


Brazil is one of the most preferred destinations for plastic and plastic surgery. Brazil’s foray into medical tourism began with Ivo Pitanguy, a plastic surgeon of world-renown who began a center outside Rio-de-Janeiro about four years ago. Brazil today is considered the “mecca” of plastic and cosmetic surgery and is the Second biggest market for these surgical treatments after the US. This is because of the remarkable quality of service and affordable expenses it uses compared to other medical tourism locations.

According to MedRetreat, a medical tourist service company, Brazil has most number of healthcare facilities and healthcare centers after the United States. Almost all of them are totally accredited by JCAHO (Joint Commission), United States which is the largest company that recognizes medical facilities. These truths highlight the value of Brazil in the medical tourist industry and promote almost all other type of procedures in addition to plastic and plastic surgery.

The most searched for destination in Brazil is São Paulo, which is not only the greatest city in Brazil however likewise boasts of some of the world’s finest medical facilities and health care centers complete with all assessment procedures and a few of the world’s most distinguished and highly proficient experts. Also, Brazil is in close proximity to the United States and takes just about 9 hours on a flight.

Brazil is also extremely conducive to foreign investment and is slated to become among the most dominant economies in the future inning accordance with Jim O’Neill (Goldman Sachs). Hence, in addition to saving money on medical expenses and seeing Brazil, investing in realty here could generate high returns.


Found in South East Asia and being among the most beautiful tropical tourism locations worldwide, Malaysia is also a haven for healthcare facilities and hospitals. AS a result of this, Malaysia’s medical tourism market has experience a geometric development in the current past. To give you an estimate, people who have actually chosen health care in Malaysia has grown from about 75,000 to 300, 000 per year in between 2001 and 2006, which is a growth of 400% in a span of 5 years (figures are from Association of Private Hospitals, Malaysia). The earnings created through such influx medical travelers in 2006 touched the $60 billion mark. It is predicted that the Malaysian medical tourism market will grow at 30% per year until 2010.

Health care in Malaysia provides a large range of procedures that consist of cosmetic, heart and dental surgeries at much lesser costs than the United States. A cardiac bypass surgery in Malaysia costs around USD 6000-7000.

Malaysia attracts foreign financial investment and tourists alike due to conducive currency exchange rate and, steady federal government and its high literacy rate. Malaysia is the only nation in the world that has nearly 90% of its population residing in the area of healthcare facilities. This speaks volumes for its network of hospitals.

Costa Rica

Another popular medical tourism destination, Costa Rica is located in South America and caters to a great deal of treatment requirement of patients from developed nations. Costa Rica uses first-rate treatment at down-to-earth expenses and is very convenient to travel to, especially from The United States and Canada. It is just 8-10 hours from the U.S.A and is highly accessible with little logistic arrangements.

As per the NCPA report last published, more than 150,000 foreigners have actually sought Costa Rica’s healthcare facilities for their treatment in 2006. Costa Rica specializes in cosmetic and oral surgeries and any type of treatment expenses around half of what it would cost in United States. For example, a dental veneer costs $350 in Costa Rica while it costs about $1200 in the USA.

With high literacy rate and financial stability coupled with an inviting mindset towards foreign financial investment, Costa Rica is a fast growing economy. It is a member of the US-CAFTA agreement that was carried out in March 2008 making it more conducive to financial investment and medical tourism.


The ratio of value for cash in treatment is the best in India, which indicates that you can get the very best healthcare at the most affordable cost compared with other medical tourist destinations inning accordance with NCPA. India possesses numerous JVI recognized hospitals and uses the best infrastructure with cutting-edge treatment technology. The only disadvantages with India are the constraints placed on immigrants and the range from the US.

Medical tourism despite the disadvantage has grown tremendously in the past few years. With about 500,000 foreigners selecting treatment in India in 2005, the industry has grown from 150,000 in 2002. The medical tourism market itself is slated to being in USD 2,2 billion a year by 2012.

With the schedule of high tech treatment infrastructure, India concentrates on almost all medical treatment, be it orthopedic, cardiac or cosmetic treatments. India likewise has some procedure, yet not available in the US such as Birmingham hip resurfacing which has recently got the FDA approval in United States. The expenses of health care are very low, for instance a high tech health center in India charges USD 4000 for a cardiac surgery that would cost more than USD 30,000 throughout the


India, as a country faces many problems like ecological problems, illiteracy, hardship and religious strife and dissuades immigrants from traveling there. However, the mystic worth that the nation brings together with its efforts to ending up being the “Hospital Copa Star ” encourages many foreigners to opt for healthcare here.

With minimized controls on foreign trade and financial investment, progressive policy on financial reforms and foreign trade makes India an extremely searched for location for foreign investment. With a fast growing market, India is slated to become an economy to reckon with.

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