Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 19: The coming perfect storm: medical tourism as a biosecurity issue
Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden; School of Tourism & Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa Biosecurity is the protection of a location’s or firm’s economic, environmental and/or human health from the introduction, emergence, establishment and spread of harmful organisms. Although continued growth in human, animal and trade mobilities has been recognised as an extremely significant feature in the movement of infectious diseases, the role and nature of medical tourism has arguably not been so well understood. As a form of tourism that, by its very nature, has broader health implications medical tourism provides distinct biosecurity challenges. The chapter examines one of the emerging major challenges for cross-border medical tourism, namely the coming together of several trends: the growth of international mobility, and medical tourism in particular; the emergence of antibiotic resistance; and environmental change. It suggests that shifts towards neoliberal models of public health provision will only intensify the biosecurity risks that will arise from increased medical tourism related mobility, and that these, in turn, will be affected by growing antibiotic resistance and climate change.
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