Global tourism and trends…lessons for medical tourism

 

Rival travel organisations to ones based in Europe and the US are now well established, and many are based in China. Among these is the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) in Beijing, and their World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development held on the 5 September had experts and representatives from across the world sharing experience, research results and diverse views on the issue of global tourism recovery amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Tourism is recognised as one of the worst hit sectors by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. At such a critical moment, the conference hosted by WTCF aimed to provide strategic analyses and guidance for global urban tourism recovery in the post-pandemic era.

Equal importance to tourism and pandemic prevention

In 2020, the WTCF predicts the number of international tourists around the globe will decrease by 80%, and the global tourism industry will lose more than US$1 trillion.

The epidemic not only changed the development course of world tourism, but also changed its travel mode and management mode. The establishment of a management mechanism in line with global epidemic prevention and control must be sped up, to support the reopening and prosperity of world tourism on the precondition of ensuring the safety and health of tourists.

The WTCF says destinations must establish a more humane, sound and orderly developmental concept. They must attach equal importance to epidemic prevention and control as well as tourism resumption, while introducing a systematic plan for the recovery of tourism as soon as possible. Innovation and co-operation should be the driving forces. Epidemic prevention and control could be an opportunity to upgrade the industry.

An 8-point WTCF Action Guide launched at the conference advocates attaching equal importance to tourism resumption and pandemic prevention and control. It is aimed at guiding the recovery and development of city tourism, in an orderly manner.

Titled “ Action Guide on Recovery and Revitalization of City Tourism amid COVID-19 ”, it has in-depth analysis in eight areas covering:

  • comprehensively doing a good job in the prevention and control of the pandemic in tourism cities
  • coordinating and launching city tourism activities in an orderly manner
  • promoting the implementation of more proactive and effective incentive policies
  • enhancing international cooperation in pandemic prevention and control and tourism recovery
  • focusing on the building of the service platform of pandemic prevention and control information
  • boosting the construction of the emergency rescue system in tourism cities
  • promoting the innovation of city tourism models amid the pandemic
  • promoting travel in greener and healthier ways.

Encouraging smart tourism

WTCF stresses that domestic and regional tourism can be reopened first, while outdoor low-density tourism could be a priority. It recommends that tourism cities should grasp the developmental trend of tourism in the post-epidemic era, while vigorously promoting the innovation of city tourism products, business, models and management.

Cities should be leveraging modern technology such as the Internet, big data, and smart technologies, for the better development of smart tourism and smart cities, and comprehensive improvement of the services, marketing and management level of tourism cities.

Similarly, tourism companies should not assume that the pandemic was a one-off event. They must enhance their risk resilience and reshape their core competitiveness to adapt to the new normal of the tourism industry.

Conference speaker Chang Yang of Alibaba Group concluded that the major impacts of the current pandemic on the world were an acceleration of digitalisation, growth in new business models, and changes in the capacity to consume. Further improvements in, and new driving forces for, the development of the tourism industry are needed to accelerate its recovery. New growth drivers are intellectual property, digitalization, and green development.

Learning from China: cloud tourism

China is now arguably the safest country in the world. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, China took a pragmatic and responsible approach to restart the tourism economy. Domestic tourism has recovered far faster than expected, and international tourism will follow.

Lessons that other countries can learn include understanding the new normal of pandemic prevention and control.The pandemic has accelerated the digitisation process of the entire tourism industry.

China is developing a 'cloud' approach for tourism exchanges, tourism business activities, and tourism experiences. New ideas include "cloud tourism", "cloud live broadcast", "cloud exhibition viewing" and more, and this trend is likely to continue.

The WTCF argues that the impact of COVID-19 on world travel has led to wider adoption of cutting-edge technologies including the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence, while small, customised, and low-density travel has become the most important mode of travel during the post-epidemic era.

Tourism investment trends reveal that although the industry has been heavily impacted, core products, service systems and the basic need for global tourism remain.

Implications for medical travel

One significant change in the global tourism market that medical tourism should understand is that in many places, air travellers can make a reservation online, sign a contract and book a seat, but can then determine the exact and final date before travel. Before the second reservation, all expenses can be refunded without penalty. Tourists have flexibility to adjust their travel times based on their own schedules and the overall circumstances of epidemic prevention and control.

To survive the medical travel sector needs to understand all the new technologies, new methods of operation and new customer needs. It has to move away from heavy price competition and promoting unrealistic marketing messages.

The journey from showing initial interest all the way through to post treatment home recovery must be handled using the latest technology. This will mean investment by companies and countries of all sizes, plus a new approach to setting realistic targets for inbound medical travellers.

Health tourism and remote medical tourism services are likely to flourish. Those medical travel organisations and destinations who do not change, or expect to go back to what they did in 2019, may struggle. But for those prepared to tough out the bad times and invest in the new ways of working, it could be exciting and financially successful.

FURTHER CONTENT PUBLISHED BY THIS AUTHOR

100 Million jobs recovery plan

Articles, 13 October, 2020

Will WTTC jobs recovery plan help medical travel?

Inbound USA medical tourism

Articles, 16 September, 2020

2017-18 USCIPP survey results

Access to European healthcare

Articles, 02 September, 2020

UK-EU negotiations threaten healthcare access

Walmart healthcare for Americans

Articles, 17 August, 2020

A disrupter to outbound US medical travel?

China builds domestic medical travel

Articles, 14 August, 2020

Don’t write off Hainan as a competitor

European Tourism: Trends and prospects

Articles, 05 August, 2020

No easy return for medical travel

Global dental travel trends

Articles, 07 July, 2020

10% of dental clinics may either close or refocus on domestic patients

Air travel and medical tourism

Articles, 23 June, 2020

If cheap air fares are no more, what of medical travel?

The EU plan to re-boot tourism

Articles, 19 May, 2020

If European tourism starts, will medical travel follow?

Spa re-opening toolkit

News, 13 May, 2020

New ISPA guidance for spas

Thailand medical travel impact

News, 13 May, 2020

Lack of medical tourists hurts Thai international hospitals

Medical travel in Europe

Articles, 12 May, 2020

What is the future of medical travel in Europe?

Now is the time for future planning

Articles, 18 March, 2020

Will patients come to your medical travel destination, post COVID-19?

COVID-19: global medical travel crisis

Articles, 12 March, 2020

Now a pandemic, coronavirus will hit medical tourism hard

COVID-19 impact on medical tourism

Articles, 11 March, 2020

COVID-19: medical tourism could be affected until 2021

UK/EU healthcare promise

Articles, 10 October, 2019

Six-month health cover for British nationals in the EU?

EU cross-border healthcare

Articles, 25 September, 2019

UK no deal Brexit and access to cross-border healthcare

Medical travel for proton therapy

Articles, 27 August, 2019

Proton therapy: a double-edged sword?

First ever UK tourism strategy

Articles, 24 July, 2019

A boost for inbound medical travel to the UK?

Assessing EU cross-border healthcare

Articles, 12 June, 2019

EU cross-border healthcare still requires improvement

Visas and medical travel

Articles, 01 May, 2019

Could visa rules deter medical tourists?

Global medical travel trends

Articles, 18 April, 2019

Get on board China’s Belt & Road initiative

UK-EU cross-border healthcare

Articles, 04 April, 2019

Predicting the Brexit effect on EU healthcare travel

Inbound US medical tourism analysis

News, 01 April, 2019

USCIPP identifies top 5 sources of medical tourists to USA

Global medical trends

Articles, 08 March, 2019

Global medical prices will keep rising in 2019

Which destination has the highest risk?

Articles, 07 February, 2019

New study compares risks of travel to global destinations

Promoting Traditional Chinese Medicine

Articles, 24 January, 2019

Will TCM move centre stage in global health tourism?

Medical Travel and Tourism Global Market Report – 1st Edition

Resources, 19 January, 2019

Special Offer: This new report discusses the dynamics of medical tourism and looks at the supply chain, business models, products and the consumer.

Medical Travel and Tourism Global Market Report – 1st Edition

Resources, 09 January, 2019

This new report discusses the dynamics of medical tourism and looks at the supply chain, business models, products and the consumer.

Chinese medical tourism scams

Articles, 11 December, 2018

Arrests in US$145m scam targeting Chinese medical travellers

Stars in the East

Articles, 06 December, 2018

The medical tourism axis is shifting

UK health tourism deception

News, 30 November, 2018

UK government figures on NHS health tourism are debunked

Global wellness tourism boom

Articles, 22 November, 2018

Wellness tourism is worth US$639bn, but what do these figures include?

EU cross-border healthcare

Articles, 09 November, 2018

EU Directive fails to meet expectations for medical tourism

Chinese outbound medical tourists

Articles, 03 October, 2018

How to tap into the Chinese medical travel market

Plea for proper figures

Articles, 19 September, 2018

International patient data overstates medical tourism reality

Anti-Tourism – did you predict THIS trend?

Articles, 30 July, 2018

UK’s Cornwall is discouraging tourists to two of its beaches this summer. Predicting medical travel trends is also dangerous.

Terrorism and political risk

Articles, 06 June, 2018

Growing global political volatility is a major risk for medical travel

“Medical tourists don’t need hotels”

Articles, 03 May, 2018

Why the growth of medical tourism is being limited by a lack of appropriate hotels

UK outbound tourism data

Articles, 16 April, 2018

Health warning on ONS 2017 data about British medical tourist volumes

Medical tourism facts and figures

Articles, 22 March, 2018

The magic of medical tourism numbers

The dangers of dealing with medical tourism financiers

Articles, 14 February, 2018

Beware financiers offering you deals that are too good to be true

Chinese outbound tourism changes

Articles, 01 February, 2018

The changing world of outbound Chinese medical tourism

Agreement on post-Brexit healthcare in EU

Articles, 05 October, 2017

Agreement reached on reciprocal healthcare for British and EU retirees

Ireland, Brexit and Cross Border Healthcare

Articles, 21 September, 2017

UK addresses position on Ireland land border

Medical tourism post-Brexit

Articles, 07 September, 2017

Brexit: Citizens living overseas are pawns for negotiators

UK citizens abroad post Brexit

Articles, 23 August, 2017

UK citizens in EU and EFTA countries

EU citizenship post Brexit

Articles, 08 June, 2017

What happens to EU/EFTA citizens in the UK after Brexit?

Brexit, the NHS and medical tourism

Articles, 02 June, 2017

Brexit bill: the half a billion pound NHS bill

European health insurance

Articles, 25 May, 2017

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - a much misunderstood arrangement

EU Package Travel Directive

Articles, 06 April, 2017

Do you know about the EU Package Travel Directive?

Tele-surgery and medical tourism

Articles, 22 March, 2017

Is tele-surgery a threat to medical tourism?

Travel ban impacts tourism

Articles, 13 March, 2017

New Trump order impacts US inbound tourism

Medical travel insurance

Articles, 01 March, 2017

Clearing up the confusion: insurance and medical tourism

Growth of healing hotels

Articles, 16 February, 2017

Healing Hotels of the World and luxury customers

Trump and medical tourism

Articles, 09 February, 2017

The Trump factor: Protectionism and medical tourism

Will Brexit damage UK medical tourism?

Articles, 16 November, 2016

Refuting the claims of a "medical tourism expert"

Medical tourism in 2016

Articles, 01 November, 2016

The upside down world of medical tourism

Medical tourism cruises?

Articles, 04 October, 2016

All aboard for a healthy trip

Medical tourism associations reducing?

Articles, 01 September, 2016

Where have all the national and regional associations gone?

Medical tourism 2016 overview

Articles, 18 August, 2016

Medical tourism in 2016: What has changed?

Healthcare after Brexit

Articles, 04 August, 2016

The future of cross border healthcare in Europe

The EU debate

Articles, 20 June, 2016

Brexit and medical tourism

International and expatriate healthcare and insurance 2016

Resources, 07 June, 2016

There are more opportunities than ever for insurers and brokers to sell health insurance globally to locals and expatriates.

End of the line for Satori

News, 30 April, 2016

US medical tourism agency Satori collapses

Cuba - restrictions still apply

News, 20 April, 2016

Barriers for US medical tourism to Cuba

Turkey medical tourism

News, 15 April, 2016

The falling star of medical tourism

Clamp down on illegal transplants

News, 15 April, 2016

Kidney transplant ban in Sri Lanka

Early days for Iran

News, 14 April, 2016

Sanctions and travel restrictions still in place

Barriers to domestic medical tourism

News, 12 April, 2016

Out-dated advertising rules affect Malaysia

Incentives for Puerto Rico

News, 11 April, 2016

Puerto Rico gearing up for medical tourism

"Uninsured Americans"... Fact or fiction?

News, 07 April, 2016

New data on US insurance

Bariatric travel... hidden cost?

News, 05 April, 2016

Report on impact of Canadians' obesity surgery abroad

Malaysia stays strong

News, 03 April, 2016

Growth in medical tourism despite economic slowdown

Zika virus repercussions

Articles, 01 April, 2016

Does Zika pose a threat to medical tourism?

Global travel trends

Articles, 01 April, 2016

How will tourism fare in 2016?

Tourism troubles in Turkey

Articles, 14 March, 2016

2016: A lost year for medical tourism in Turkey?

A Gulf of medical tourism?

Articles, 26 February, 2016

How is the falling oil price affecting medical tourism in the Middle East?

National Health Systems Report 2016

Resources, 10 February, 2016

This report provides insight into the National Health Systems of over 180 countries, and what their future plans are on a simple country-by-country basis.

Rising popularity of wellness travel

Articles, 25 January, 2016

Health and wellness and the luxury market

Is Asia getting it wrong?

Articles, 10 December, 2015

Medical tourism is not global: Are asian hospitals targeting the wrong markets?

What's my target market?

Articles, 27 November, 2015

Targeting medical tourists... demographics are dead...adapt or perish!

Your next conference speech

Articles, 15 October, 2015

Insert name here... a template for your medical tourism conference speech

Planning and preparation

Articles, 25 August, 2015

Impact analysis and medical tourism

Malta health plans under attack

News, 06 August, 2015

Doubt expressed about healthcare funding and medical tourism plans

Nigeria universal health coverage

News, 06 August, 2015

NHIS resolves to decentralize the operation of health insurance in the country

Egypt healthcare struggles

News, 06 August, 2015

Pressure on Egypt's ailing health care system

Regulation of Israel medical tourism

News, 06 August, 2015

Special team to investigate and prepare regulation of Israeli medical tourism

Lithuania medical tourism

News, 06 August, 2015

Lithuania rues failure of cross border healthcare

Dubai acts to reduce healthcare costs

News, 06 August, 2015

DHA introduces price regulation model for private sector health services

Australia breast augmentation package

News, 06 August, 2015

Insurer changes medical tourism option

Health insurance compulsory

News, 06 August, 2015

Chinese visitors to Taiwan must have health insurance

Trends in global healthcare spend

News, 06 August, 2015

OECD Health Statistics 2015: Reductions in spending

Saudi Arabia... compulsory health insurance

News, 06 August, 2015

Compulsory health insurance to be introduced for most visitors

South Korea medical tourism

News, 06 August, 2015

Recovery of South Korea medical tourism after MERS

Health insurance coverage in India

News, 06 August, 2015

86% of the rural population and 82% of the urban population are not covered by health insurance

Japan medical tourism

News, 06 August, 2015

Japanese plans to promote health tourism get mixed reaction

Dubai health insurance update

News, 06 August, 2015

Dubai links health insurance scheme to visa renewal

Comparing US surgeons

News, 06 August, 2015

Consumers to evaluate and compare surgeons based on complications rates and patient outcomes

Economy problems

Articles, 31 July, 2015

Greece crisis... the implications for Greek medical tourism

Fact from fiction

Articles, 30 June, 2015

Analysing the latest "internet" facts on medical tourism

What are they up to...

Articles, 28 May, 2015

Competitor analysis in medical tourism

Working with competitors in medical tourism

Articles, 08 May, 2015

Who are your nearest competitors in inbound health and medical tourism?

Fakes, scams and frauds

Articles, 19 March, 2015

How do you know who is telling the truth?

Rallying to the Defence

Articles, 08 January, 2015

Medical tourism under attack and on the back foot

When all fails

Articles, 24 November, 2014

Ian Youngman looking into what happens after the worse happens

The future of medical tourism

Articles, 20 November, 2014

What will 2015 bring for medical tourism?

Central and South America: Health insurance, healthcare and medical tourism 2014

Resources, 14 November, 2014

This regional report provides up to date detail from recent research.

Hot topic: Ebola

Articles, 23 October, 2014

What threat does Ebola pose to medical tourism?

The medical magic

Articles, 06 October, 2014

Why do people travel for health, Ian Youngman discusses why

Medical tourism... good news?

Articles, 29 August, 2014

Does medical tourism benefit countries?

Temporary tourism

Articles, 23 July, 2014

Is medical tourism's growth based on hope or reality?

Do your research

Articles, 09 June, 2014

Knowing your market is key to success

Go compare

Articles, 22 May, 2014

Comparison sites, a threat or opportunity?

Don't believe the hype

Articles, 23 April, 2014

How medical tourism has changed and who not to believe

Tourist or Patient?

Articles, 20 March, 2014

The issues in measuring medical tourism numbers

Dental tourism trends

Articles, 21 February, 2014

Looking at the growth of the dental tourism market

The big questions

Articles, 24 January, 2014

Many problems in the medical tourism industry remain unanswered

The imperfect market

Articles, 19 December, 2013

Is the customer really looking for the cheapest surgery?

Travel insured: part 2

Articles, 04 November, 2013

Why isn't medical travel insured?

Travel insured: part 1

Articles, 21 October, 2013

What travel insurance exists?

Building and hoping

Articles, 06 September, 2013

Building a hospital rarely leads to patients beating a path to your door

Understanding customer choice

Articles, 09 August, 2013

How do medical tourist make decisions about destinations?

Stuck in the past

Articles, 28 June, 2013

Is medical tourism making the most of social media?

Headliners

Articles, 14 June, 2013

How bad news can affect medical tourism in a country

The tourism niche

Articles, 26 April, 2013

Are small industries a bad thing?

The tipping point

Articles, 12 April, 2013

Is medical tourism still a pioneer, or merely a bandwagon?

Disaster planning

Articles, 01 February, 2013

What happens when things go wrong?

Powerhouses of medical tourism

Articles, 04 January, 2013

What economies are booming in the medical tourism industries?

The numbers

Articles, 14 December, 2012

Ian Youngman revisits the figures of medical tourism

Accreditation

Articles, 21 September, 2012

Just what is accreditation in medical tourism and does it help your business?

Healthcare politics

Articles, 23 August, 2012

The impact of healthcare reform on the USA's medical tourism industry

The American tourist

Articles, 13 July, 2012

International Americans have not arrived, but what about domestic travel?

Judging quality

Articles, 15 June, 2012

Are certification and accreditation useful guides for a service's quality?

Medical tourism attacked

Articles, 18 May, 2012

Spain and the UK speak out against medical tourism

Changing world

Articles, 23 March, 2012

Ian Youngman talks on how the world of medical tourism has changed

Build it and they will come

Articles, 27 January, 2012

Is medical tourism a "Field of Dreams"?

Kolkata tragedy

Articles, 19 December, 2011

94 dead in a major fire, what does this mean for India's medical tourism industry?

Top ten tourist destinations

Articles, 14 November, 2011

Ian Youngman tries to pick out the top 2012 medical tourism destinations

Is medical tourism behind the curve?

Articles, 16 September, 2011

Friends, Fans and Followers are becoming a powerful market force

Recovering UK tourism

Articles, 23 June, 2011

Is outbound tourism from the UK recovering?

The shrinking world

Articles, 15 April, 2011

The medical tourism world is shrinking, but is this good news?

Why the Cayman Islands matter

Articles, 25 March, 2011

Ian Youngman talks on the Cayman Islands and their role in medical tourism

Insurance tourism

Articles, 07 March, 2011

How will health insurers adapt to medical tourism?

Medical tourism lost

Articles, 25 February, 2011

How the industry lost its way and how it can get back on track

EU directive: Cross-Border healthcare

Articles, 19 January, 2011

Ian Youngman looks at the challenges of implementation of Cross-Border healthcare

What do we know?

Articles, 10 November, 2010

Ian Youngman comments on an academic review of medical tourism

Implications of online advertising rules

Articles, 27 October, 2010

New rules may affect how medical treatment is advertised online

Changing trends

Articles, 30 September, 2010

How changes in tourism will affect medical travel

An industry out of nowhere

Articles, 03 September, 2010

A new global industry has sprung up, as have many before, what can we learn?

Europe agrees new rules

Articles, 17 June, 2010

Ian Youngman looks at the latest development of Cross-Border healthcare

USA healthcare reform

Articles, 21 April, 2010

Ian Youngman reviews the myths of the US healthcare reforms

Are you complying?

Articles, 12 March, 2010

Ian Youngman examines the new European Union Provision of Services regulation

Top ten hospitals

Articles, 27 January, 2010

Are assessments really fair?

The forgotten destination

Articles, 10 December, 2009

Oft overlooked, London could well be a slumbering giant in medical tourism

Getting social

Articles, 06 November, 2009

Medical tourism industries live and die on their press, but how good is the news ?

Legal, decent, honest and true

Articles, 22 October, 2009

Ian Youngman considers whether the medical tourism industry is both legal and ethical

Looking back at '08

Articles, 25 August, 2009

Ian Youngman looks at the predictions made back in 2008

Conference: Competition hots up

Articles, 16 July, 2009

Ian Youngman looks at the competitive market for medical tourism speakers

Will the boss pick up the bill?

Articles, 26 May, 2009

Can businesses insurers break into the medical tourism market

McKinsey's got it wrong

Articles, 26 May, 2009

A recent report on the industry makes some serious errors

The hottest American destinations

Articles, 15 May, 2009

One country serves travelling American medical care more than any other. America

Where do Americans go abroad?

Articles, 12 May, 2009

Just as we don't know how many Americans travel for care, we have no figures as to where

Americans travelling abroad for care

Articles, 10 May, 2009

Do we have any idea how many Americans would travel abroad for treatment?

How many American medical tourists?

Articles, 10 May, 2009

There are wide variations in the American medical tourist estimates. We examine a few

Delivering destinations

Articles, 28 April, 2009

Not every government is active in attracting medical travellers

Offering a premium service

Articles, 10 September, 2008

IMTJ looks at the new insurance products coming to market

Truth in statistics

Articles, 01 June, 2008

Ian Youngman talks on his work: Medical Tourism 2008: the World-wide Business Guide

South Korea: medical tourism report

Articles, 01 June, 2008

Ian Youngman is producing a new set of country specific reports, first up, South Korea

Insurance and medical travel

Articles, 10 May, 2008

Ian Youngman looks at the new products hitting the insurance market

Advertisement

ADD AN ARTICLE

Do you have an article that you’d like to share with the medical travel industry?

Publish for FREE on IMTJ.

ADD ARTICLE

Related Articles

100 Million jobs recovery plan

13 October, 2020

Will WTTC jobs recovery plan help medical travel?

Bringing patients back to Croatia

16 September, 2020

Bagatin Clinic: digitising and adapting

Life support for medical travel

02 September, 2020

Planning for pauses in demand

China builds domestic medical travel

14 August, 2020

Don’t write off Hainan as a competitor

Medical travel in Europe

12 May, 2020

What is the future of medical travel in Europe?