Health Tourism

Health Tourism

Social Welfare through International Trade

David Reisman

In this unique and pathbreaking book, David Reisman examines the relatively new phenomenon of health travel. He presents a multidisciplinary account of the way in which lower costs, shorter waiting times, different services, and the chance to combine recreational tourism with a check-up or an operation all come together to make medical travel a new industry with the potential to create jobs and wealth, while at the same time giving sick people high-quality care at an affordable price.

Chapter 10: Health Hubs in Asia

David Reisman

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, health policy and economics


In 2007 2.9 million health travellers visited South-East and South Asia for medical treatment (Velasco, 2008: 13). About three-quarters of them had come for cosmetic surgery. Beauty tourism attracts more business than the hip and knee replacements, the full-body check-ups, the angioplasty and the prostate conditions which too are well represented. It is a competitive market. Singapore in colonial times acquired a head-start reputation for clinical excellence. Other countries in the region are coming up. When in 2010 the Medical Travel Quality Alliance made a list of the world’s best destinations for medical tourists, it found that no less than six of the top ten hospitals were in Asia. Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore, headed the list followed by Gleneagles in Singapore and Prince Court in Kuala Lumpur. This chapter discusses the nature of medical tourism in four of the Asian countries: Dubai, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Yet the world is flat. It is six hours in the air from Kennedy New York to Juarez Mexico City. It is 19 hours in the air from Kennedy New York to Suvarnabhumi Bangkok. Nineteen hours is more than six hours. It is not much more if the price, the quality and the service are right. The country gives way to the region. The region gives way to the world. Like it or not, interdependence is here to stay. 10.1 DUBAI Dubai, situated on the Persian Gulf, is one of the seven jurisdictions that make up the United Arab Emirates. Its population is 1.4 million....

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