Is there any noise from the market, or is it all in the industry?


Making the bottom line the top line

One of the shortcomings of the medical tourism industry is that many players are concentrating on developing and promoting the industry (and their business) rather than cultivating and developing the market. What is being done to broaden medical tourism, increase its attractiveness and ultimately to increase its popularity?

The medical tourism industry “Associations” claim that their role is to protect and lobby for the interests of their members – and even to promote individual members within the market. But much of what we hear from them and the individual members is “come to me - I am better and cheaper”.

This creates confusion, mistrust, and does little to develop the market.

The way to cultivate (and expand) the market is through a coherent and convincing “disinterested” message that says:

“Health tourism (or medical tourism if you prefer) is a diverse (in terms of purpose and choice), credible, reliable and trustworthy industry.”

But, we need to provide the evidence for this. We must ensure that more people feel that they too can and want to be health or medical tourists or travellers if the industry is to develop and grow.

Existing industry representative bodies (for the most part, in the form of  “Associations”)  that are one day extolling the virtues of one destination and the next day lavishly showcasing the peerless offerings of another, do not best serve the interests of the industry as a whole. Imagine the uproar if a professional association in healthcare promoted one group of its members one week and a completely different (and competing) group of members the next.

Promotion of a specific member, product or service (in the case of medical tourism, a destination) is not the role of an industry association; this is the role of the destinations themselves, or their agents or the facilities and services that make the destination attractive.

Market cultivation is all about promoting the concept of medical tourism, and making it more attractive to as broad a market as possible, rather than promoting specific providers and destinations.

If the existing associations do not adopt this role, then another body needs to step in and fill the gap.

Time to move on

The industry needs to move forward. It has created a great deal of noise without creating enthusiasm in the marketplace. The industry has been driven by internally generated “ triumphalism”and more recently, bravado (in the face of a worldwide recession), but has seen very little new enthusiasm from the market. Many devote time, effort and money to “convert” prospects to customers, but this is not the same as “cultivating” the market.

The market has not been growing as fast as many have predicted (or they hoped) and it is not just a matter of the impact of the recession. Lack of underlying market growth has to be a concern, and one that the industry needs to urgently address.

Do we need more legislation, regulation and standards?

Contrary to the hysteria of some who want to say something (and have very little to say), the health tourism industry does not need additional legislation, regulation or standards.

Each of the eight health-related tourism segments, including medical tourism, already has standards. And health tourism is not a melting pot. Each segment wants to and is entitled to retain its unique identity and independence.

Where  perhaps there is no objection to the introduction of legislation, regulation and standards is to the role of the medical facilitator or medical travel agency,  which is relatively new (although some, mainly in Europe, will quite correctly point out, it is anything but new).

Whether it is new or not, the fact remains that the facilitation role has developed with little coherence and without the framework and extensive regulation that surrounds the traditional travel and tourism agency sector.


Amateur to professional

Articles, 01 August, 2018

Medical tourism clusters are not in the right league

“Fragmentistan Syndrome”

Articles, 01 March, 2017

The “Fragmentistan Syndrome” in medical tourism

Industry Representative Bodies

Articles, 31 January, 2017

The raison d'être of Health Tourism Industry Representative Bodies

Health tourism improvements

Articles, 21 September, 2016

Making health tourism “truly” sustainable and resilient – for all

The rise of domestic medical tourism

Articles, 10 December, 2015

Why more and more medical tourism business is becoming “domestic”

Insurance funded treatment abroad

Articles, 15 October, 2015

The future of “Health-Plan-Funded” treatment abroad

A fortune in pyramids

Articles, 12 June, 2015

Is there a fortune at the bottom of the medical tourism pyramid?

Saying NO

Articles, 24 November, 2014

Why some countries are turning their back on medical tourism.

"Buyers" at events

Articles, 07 August, 2014

Hosted "Buyers" fail to live up to expectations

Who leads "Health Tourism Destinations"?

Articles, 22 May, 2014

Are there leaders, or does he who pays, speaks?

The Russian Patient

Articles, 22 April, 2014

Russia is the new focus for medical tourist companies.

Why "Google Health" failed

Articles, 09 January, 2014

Examining the electronic health record "Death Trap"

Greece as a destination

Articles, 29 November, 2013

Times are changing as Greece tries to become a major destination.

Luxury and Medicine

Articles, 07 October, 2013

If medical tourism is all about cost, why so many luxury destinations?

Conventional bankruptcy

Articles, 27 August, 2013

The old models have failed, but what replaces them?

State and Government

Articles, 17 June, 2013

The role of governments in developing health tourism

Haves and wants

Articles, 12 April, 2013

How have to travel is being replaced by wanting to travel

Changing motivations

Articles, 01 February, 2013

Is medical tourism experiencing a shift from 'have to' to 'want to'

Discovering medical tourism

Articles, 22 October, 2012

Despite the recession, there's still growth in medical tourism

Tourism "free zones"

Articles, 01 June, 2012

What are the goals and benefits?

International medical children

Articles, 18 May, 2012

How the EU directive may stimulate an increase in child care

On ice?

Articles, 23 April, 2012

Dr Constantine Constantinides talks on the EU directive on Cross Border Healthcare

Short/long term

Articles, 06 March, 2012

Which should we focus on in medical tourism

Survivor bias

Articles, 23 January, 2012

Past success is no predictor of future eminence

Healthcare standards

Articles, 21 October, 2011

Do standards need to have a regional flavour?

Is it enough?

Articles, 28 September, 2011

Can medical tourism on its own be sustainable?

Understanding the market

Articles, 03 June, 2011

Why would you want to get into the medical tourism market?

Exploring the health tourism market

Articles, 28 January, 2011

Constantine Constantinides provides advice as to understanding the health tourism market

Government incentives for health tourism

Articles, 29 November, 2010

Constantine Constantinides speaks on the role of government in medical travel


Articles, 26 August, 2010

Constantine Constantinides talks on why medical tourism businesses fail

Should accreditation be sold

Articles, 29 July, 2010

Constantine Constantinides talks on how should handle Destination Marketing

Brightest Africa

Articles, 20 January, 2010

Is Africa always a exporter, or can it be a healthcare destination?

Cross-border opposition

Articles, 10 December, 2009

Spain and other nations blocked the draft proposal, we ask the experts why

The resentment factor

Articles, 15 October, 2009

Health tourism is often resented by countries, but can it have positive effects?

Free and open debate

Articles, 22 September, 2009

Constantine Constantinides voices concern over the expression of opinions in the industry

Medical tourism in denial

Articles, 30 July, 2009

Supply is exceeding demand in medical tourism, but the industry is in denial



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