Chinese traveled more this year for Medical Tourism

According to a report released by China’s leading online travel marketplace, Ctrip, the Chinese medical tourism market grew by a staggering 500 percent to reach a total of 500,000 outbound medical trips in 2016. According to the report, medical tourism ranked as the fourth most interesting area of travel among Chinese tourists, and was the market segment with the highest level of growth this year.

For Chinese tourist destinations, it poses a potentially very lucrative market to target, with Ctrip reporting that the average Chinese medical tourist spending 50,000 Chinese yuan (US$7,194) on their trips. In comparison, Chinese travelers spend 26,000 yuan (US$3,741) on average during trips to Europe, and only about 18,000 yuan (US$2,590) for trips within Asia. In fact, the only type of trip with a higher reported average level of spending was polar tourism, with all other types of tourism amounting to a lower average expenditure per trip on Ctrip’s platform.

Citing its internal data, Ctrip reports that regular health checks made up the lion’s share of Chinese medical tourism in 2016, representing over 50 percent of all medical tourism trips for tourists originating in China. Higher-revenue medical tourism products that cater to more affluent Chinese tourists were also in vogue, with plastic surgery in South Korea one of the top medical tourism products on Ctrip in 2016. More advanced health checks, such as gene tests in the United States, were also popular in the higher-end of the market.

According to the Hurun Report, healthcare ranked the foremost topic of interest among Chinese high-net-worth individuals, with 50 percent of respondents citing healthcare as a topic of interest. This puts healthcare well and beyond both shopping and tourism in general among China’s wealthy, further underlining the importance of the Chinese healthcare market.

Among Ctrip’s customers, Japan was the most popular medical tourism destination in 2016, followed by South Korea, the United States, Taiwan, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Thailand, and India. Japan, an early mover in medical tourism, saw its government include medical tourism in its official growth strategy already back in 2010, and was one of the first destinations to introduce a specific visa for medical stays in 2011. Since then, Chinese tourists have come to dominate medical tourism in Japan, and the Japan National Tourism Administration has even issued a Chinese-language guide on how to enjoy healthcare services in Japan.

The biggest source markets in China for Ctrip’s outbound medical tourists were the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, together with the second-tier cities of Tianjin and Hangzhou—likely a reflection of the average level of affluence among these cities’ residents.

With concerns about the quality of healthcare steadfast, especially among the more affluent, as well as a growing number of medical tourism products catering to Chinese travelers around the world, there seem to be few reasons to believe that Chinese medical tourism won’t have another great year in 2017.

Demonetisation did not affect Tourism Business

8.91 lakh foreign tourists visited India in November this year, a growth of 9.3 per cent over the same month last year, indicating that demonetisation move did not impact the tourists footfall adversely.
Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) during November 2015 was 8.16 lakh, while it was 7.65 lakh in November 2014.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism during the month of November were Rs 14,474 crore as compared to Rs 12,649 crore in the same month last year, recording a growth of 14.4 per cent.
The US accounted for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by the UK and Bangladesh in November 2016, according to an official release.
FTAs during January-November, 2016 were 78.53 lakh, recording a growth of 10.4 per cent as compared to 71.14 lakh during the corresponding period last year.
FEEs from tourism in January-November were Rs 1,38,845 crore, witnessing an increase of 14.7 per cent as compared to the Rs 1,21,041 crore during the corresponding period last year.
Among the top 15 source countries in November, share of the US was highest with 15.53 per cent, followed by the UK (11.21 per cent), Bangladesh (10.72 per cent), Canada (4.66 per cent), Russia (4.53 per cent), Australia (4.04 per cent) and Malaysia (3.65 per cent).
The share of Germany was 3.53 per cent, while that of China 3.14 per cent, France 2.88 per cent, Sri Lanka 2.49 per cent, Japan 2.49 per cent, Singapore 2.16 per cent, Nepal 1.46 per cent and Thailand 1.37 per cent.
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African Outbound Medical Tourism Trend

To some, this word “medical tourism” might sound strange or even new. But it simply means travelling abroad in search of healthcare that is either less expensive or more accessible.

The practice of medical tourism is indeed common in recent years in our country and the world at large but it began way back in ancient times.

Traditionally, people were travelling from poor to rich countries but recent trends show that people are also travelling from developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom to developing country destinations like India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, and south Africa.

In Africa, there is this movement pattern–people moving from one country to another in search of health care.

For example, Tanzanian citizens who live along the country boarders tend to travel to the nearby countries in search of medical treatment.

I have come across some people from Ngara, a district in Kagera Region bordering Rwanda and Burundi who travel to Bujumbura (a capital city of Burundi) just for medical treatment as they believe the cost of treatment is cheap and of good quality.

Recent statistics show that India earned about $2 billion in the year 2015. According to 2013 India medical tourism statistics, a total of twenty three thousands (23,000) patients were coming from Tanzania and among them; the leading top three African countries in medical tourism were Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya.

Why are people travelling across the border in search for healthcare? Studies show that people travel far for medical surgeries like cardiac surgery, cosmetic surgery, knee and hip replacement; some go for other treatments like dental, fertility, psychiatry, alternative treatment and others.

What contributes to this growing trend of travelling across borders in search for health care? The response to this is indeed broad. Perceived cheap and quality healthcare in destination countries, lack of some important medical procedures in the home country ( for example major cardiac and kidney transplant surgeries); poor health infrastructure in our country; shortage of specialists in a given specialty, ( how many neurosurgeons do we have?); globalization has made it easy for people to travel for medical reasons; personal reasons like prestige also accou

Model travelled to India and gets permanent bright green eye implants in bid to look like a living cartoon

A model has had permanent implants in her eyes to turn them bright green as part of her transformation into a living cartoon.

It was the 19th cosmetic procedure Pixee Fox, 26, from Stockholm, Sweden, has undergone since her late teens, in a bid to mimic the cartoonish proportions of her favourite characters like Jessica Rabbit and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

The former electrician made headlines last year after having six ribs removed to give her an extreme hourglass figure.

Now she’s spent £4,100 on eye implants to permanently turn her eyes from blue to a sea green.

‘This is something I have wanted since I was really young. I really wanted to have a different eye-colour,’ Pixee explains.

‘I first heard about this surgery three years ago and as soon as I heard about it I knew I had to have it. The colour I’ve gone for is sea green. It’s really extreme and something that you couldn’t have naturally.’

Why Nigerians travel abroad for Healthcare?


In a sequel to his story on how fresh doctors in Nigeria beg for posting to do their one-year compulsory housemanship even when the medical personnel in the country remain grossly inadequate, TUNDE AJAJA in this second part reveals that perhaps the personnel crisis in the health sector is worse than it seems and far from being over as doctors who want to do residency training to become specialists also spend years, begging, to get placement, while the nation grapples with its few consultants

Notably, securing a placement for housemanship has become a sort of bottleneck for many fresh doctors in Nigeria, as many spend months at home, looking for placement. And in most cases, they are left frustrated, more so that some mates and juniors would have gone ahead of those who are unable to secure placement fast.

While that is pitiable and has already made some of them regret their choice to study medicine, it seems more worrisome that most of those who were lucky to scale the housemanship hurdle and are aiming to further their career by seeking to be specialists in their desired fields are stuck and stranded due to the scarcity of placement for the residency programme. Some spend years looking for placement.

The road to residency seems more turbulent and in some cases, some give up on the dream of becoming specialists to settle for general practice.

According to the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, the institution at the apex of Medical Education in Nigeria with the responsibility of conducting professional postgraduate examinations and producing specialists in all branches of Medicine and Dentistry, there should be one consultant to about four resident doctors.

In other words, where there is one specialist (consultant), four resident doctors should be under him or her, for training and these doctors can only undergo this training in the institutions accredited by the NPMCN.

Russians seek better healthcare in China


Medical tourism is a multi-million dollar industry, drawing people from one country to another in search of better quality or less expensive treatment. More and more Russians are now crossing China’s border in northeastern Heilongjiang province for treatment.

In China, playing with fire is a treatment for illness. Fire therapy is now all the rage among Russian visitors.

“I’ve tried many types of treatment for my rheumatism, now I stick with the fire therapy here,” said Vali, a Russian patient from Vladivostok.

A survey from a medical tourism magazine shows only a fifth of Russians from the far east were happy with their regional hospitals. Many Russians come to China for medical treatment because of the geographical proximity. Here in Suifenhe, physical check-ups and traditional Chinese medicines are very popular with Russians.

“The price is reasonable, and we get good value for money. I come here two or three times every year,” said Tamara, a Russian patient from Lake Baikal.

Visa-free entry and the acceptance of Russian rubles in Suifenhe have greatly facilitated the latest trend in medical tourism. The visitors are not exclusively from Russia’s far east, but also come from other parts of the country.

Healthcare in Russia is free. But why do many people from the far east of Russia still travel a long distance and spend their own money just to get some basic medical treatments in China?

“It is technically free, but the queue to see a doctor is long. In some cases, we have to wait one to two months just to receive some treatments. If you cannot stand the waiting, there are private clinics which are very expensive,” said Basa, a patient from Irkutsk.

“Personally, I don’t have much faith in Russia’s healthcare system. The equipment in Chinese hospitals are more advanced. It is unimaginable to see these types of equipment in the hospital where I live,” said Vacide, a patient from Vladivostok.

To cope with the increase in Russian patients, the hospital in Suifenhe greatly improved its medical facilities and human resources. Translation services are now available in every department and more experienced doctors have been hired.

“I can still remember when we first went to Russia to promote our medical services three years ago, hardly anyone was interested. Most Russians thought Chinese hospitals were incompetent at treating patients with serious illnesses,” said Zha Minghui, doctor of Suifenhe People’s Hospital, Heilongjiang province.

“The departments in which we receive the most Russian patients are currently cardiovascular care, plastic surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics and traditional Chinese medicine. We expect a 70 percent increase in the number of Russian patients next year,” said Chen Manchang, director of Suifenhe People’s Hospital, Heilongjiang province.

Pretty soon, it may be even more convenient for the Russian visitors to come here as the high-speed rail network is fast being rolled out in the China-Russia border areas. Many suggest to extend the line into Russian territory. If this happens, more Russian patients are bound to arrive.

Philippines wants to grow in Medical Touism


QUEZON City is aiming for the top of the country’s medical tourism industry.

As an initial step, Mayor Herbert Bautista tasked the city’s Tourism department to host a meeting with different medical tourism stakeholders, including representatives from private and public hospitals, doctors’ associations, travel agencies, hotels and wellness centers, to prepare for the 1st Quezon City International Medical Tourism Summit slated in March next year.

“When we combine the best facilities and the best human resource, then Quezon City is very ripe to take on the challenge of becoming the medical tourism hub of the Philippines,” Bautista said.

Medical tourism has been one of the mayor’s programs to bolster tourism and revenue generation as it is a fast-growing multibillion-dollar industry around the world, Tourism department chief Divina Pascua said.

“Quezon City is now ready and excited to take a bite of that market,” Bautista said.

City administrator Aldrin Cuña led the unveiling of the official logo and slogan for the Medical Tourism Summit dubbed “For a Healthier and Better You!”

Director Cynthia Lazo of the Department of Tourism believes Quezon City can become one of the country’s medical tourism destinations since it “has everything, including all allied and related services.”

Former Tourism secretary Mina Gabor also took part in the recent meeting.

The worldwide medical tourism industry has exploded in value from $10.5 billion in 2012 to more than $45 billion at present, industry reports say.