The challenge of developing health tourism

Health tourism is an enormous and highly competitive global business.

Reliable estimates indicate that by 2021 the worldwide health tourism market will reach somewhere between US$46.6 billion and US$125 billion per annum and is experiencing a compound annual growth rate of somewhere between 13% and 19%. In contrast, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that average growth rates for Caribbean tourism is about 3.8% per annum.

Confusingly, however, health tourism as a concept is ill defined.

At one end of the spectrum, it involves medical tourism in the form of advanced medical procedures, elective interventions, facilities for convalescence, care homes and sheltered housing for the elderly. At the other, it involves wellness in the form of spas and a range of non-medical ancillary services. While medical tourism is motivated by a need for treatment, wellness tourism is more proactive and related to improving an individual’s quality of life…..

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