How COVID-19 has Affected Medical Tourism?

The term “medical tourism” was coined to explain the trips that are planned for medical emergencies. In other words, when people travel from one country to another for getting any kind of medical care or medical treatment because of excellent services, and that too at affordable prices in those countries. It also gives an opportunity for patients to explore the country and involve in other traditional tourism activities during or after the treatment. In the last few years, medical tourism has captured the attention of a variety of researchers & the policy-makers.

Medical Tourism before COVID-19.

Per the Advisory Board, medical tourism had been an important source of revenue for a variety of health systems for many years. With very insignificant variations, the global tourism & medical tourism industries were worth $70 billion (approximately) & $6.7 billion (approximately) respectively before COVID-19. 

Medical Tourism after COVID-19.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this rapidly growing arena disproportionately and there are obvious reasons. There have been serious and very strict restrictions over traveling and people feel more safe getting treatment wherever they are unless there is something that cannot be postponed.

Per reports, literally a huge number of people had to cancel their medical trip during this whole mayhem of coronavirus pandemic. A huge number of patients who have planned to travel to other countries for affordable medical treatment have already postponed their trips for several upcoming months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Medical Tourism & the Spread of COVID-19.

Nothing like the COVID-19, the world has seen in the last many decades. It has literally put the world to halt with almost every part of the world affected by the pandemic. The highly contagious nature of the pandemic, which can spread through eyes, mouth, nose & literally everything — had instilled a sense of terror in people. Every affected person can transfer the disease to almost eight more people who come in his/her contact.

What is going to be the future of Medical Tourism after COVID-19?

With social distancing, lockdown, stay home & travel restriction measures at the forefront, it is pretty evident that people would fear traveling irrespective of the situation. While the entire economy of the world has suffered a setback like never before — but there are industries like travel & medical tourism that had been affected way worse than the others.

Per a report, as many as 100,000 patients canceled their medical tour in March alone, and that's a huge loss to the medical tourism industry. And, it is being estimated by experts that this number is going to in fact rise to 500,000 more cancellations in the months to come. This whole scenario is going to be there as long as there isn’t some vaccination developed.

When can we Expect Getting Back to Normal?

There isn’t yet a real explanation and only speculations as to why & how the pandemic germinated in the first place. But, we surely know that it’s a wake call for all of us to start afresh with power & integrity. It’s a wakeup call to rebuild the society which has made us all suffer. Humans have caused enough harm to his surrounding & nature — it’s nature’s turn to teach a lesson.

If we contemplated a little in-depth — we would realize that this once in a lifetime experience is not usually possible. The wise men will squeeze the opportunities from this unusual situation — there are too many good things happening. After so many decades we have gotten the opportunity to sit back, contemplate, and count back on our blessings.

The question is when can we expect to get back to normal? The medical tourism industry has seen a substantial fall down because of the multidimensional effect of the pandemic, but the CDS (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) has listed various medical tourist destinations in three different levels including 1, 2 & 3. It further says that the countries or destinations leveled at 1 & 2 are to be considered safe for traveling. And, countries leveled at 3 are not safe for traveling, and one should not travel to the area. Per a report from IMTJ Global Medical Travel and Tourism, the medical tourism industry is going to remain affected until 2021.

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