Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 32: The rise of medical tourism to South Africa
South Africa is becoming an increasingly important global destination for medical tourists. Medical tourists fall into two main categories. First, there are conventional North-South medical tourists from Europe and North America who travel to access South Africa’s world-class private medical facilities. The country is marketed by medical tourism operators, facilitators and service providers as a cosmetic surgery destination with a related tourist experience (such as a game safari). It has also become a destination for fertility treatment and drug rehabilitation. More controversially, South Africa has also become a destination for (illegal) transplant and stem cell tourism. The second major category consists of South-South medical tourists from within Africa. In recent years, South Africa has become a destination for middle-class ‘medical tourists’ from other African countries. More important in numerical terms is the use of South Africa’s government-funded public healthcare facilities by medical tourists from neighbouring countries for a wide variety of health needs. This chapter provides an overview of these two major forms of medical tourism to South Africa.
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