With an estimated 80 million overseas travelers in 2012, China has surpassed the United States and Germany to become the world’s largest source of outbound travelers and accounts for 30 percent of the growth in international tourism. Within the China international travel market, there is a growing segment of traveling patients seeking access to cutting edge procedures and treatments in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
As more and more patients cross borders to access healthcare services, the hotel and hospitality sector is becoming increasingly aware of the lucrative opportunities opening up in medical tourism. In many countries it is common for patients to be interned a day or two at the hospital for the surgical procedure or treatment and then spend another week to ten days recuperating at a hotel. In fact, surveys have shown that medical travels typically stay two or three times longer at destination than traditional tourists; and they are also apt to spend more.
However, hotels, tour operators and transportation providers need to be educated about the particular needs and expectations of this market in order to provide a high quality medical traveler experience. Your staff may need to be trained and physical environment and risk management issues need to be addressed before you jump into the water. Hospitals and clinics are increasingly looking for hospitality providers who understand their patient’s unique needs and who can provide a safe and pleasant environment for recuperation and soft tourism activities.
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