One of the most frequently asked questions about the medical tourism industry is: what is the size of the market? Keith Pollard gives a realistic view of the medical tourism market.
Well it's probably not as big as many think. I can guarantee one thing. Don't believe what you read on the internet, and don't believe what comes out of the mouths of conference promoters and so called industry associations.
Last week, I read an email from a sales guy promoting an MTA conference in India. It read "8 Billion Market Growth in India". It didn't say whether that was 8 billion people, dollars, rupees or what it was... and when the growth was meant to happen. It was just a number. It's a big number. But has little foundation in fact.
This week, I got an email about a medical tourism event in China. This one told me that the medical tourism market worldwide is expected to grow to $678.5 billion in 2017 and that the Chinese spend more than $10 billion travelling abroad for healthcare. It was just another big number. But, again, has little foundation in fact.
This kind of inflated claim is designed to sell tickets for events, to get people to buy exhibition stands and sponsorships. It's about hyping the market. Sadly, it's far too common in the sector.
So how big is the market? Take any number you see on the web, divide it by 10, and you're probably somewhere close to the truth. Or come to the session on measuring medical tourism at the IMTJ Summit in Croatia and you can learn how some of the leading medical tourism destinations are trying to get their numbers sorted. We're involving academics from USCIPP who are attempting to measure medical travel in the USA, representatives from Malaysia HTC on how they are measuring medical tourism, and the UK team that carried out one of the most extensive pieces of research into inbound and outbound medical tourism.
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