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Health tourism

I posted recently on the booming market in Thai exports of health services. Americans and Europeans are travelling in droves to Thailand to take advantage of lower costs of health services there. I sent a copy of the post to a well-known Australian trade theorist and his immediate response was – why doesn’t Australia get in on this act?

I agree and so too does the Managing Director of the Australian Tourism Export Council. His argument – having a sound international reputation for health services would encourage heath tourism and regular tourism among those with health concerns. It would also lead to having improved health facilities available for Australian residents. We would have to pay more for our health services – unless discriminatory pricing was enforced via, for example, a tax on health exports – but economically Australia would enjoy gains from trade.

3 comments to Health tourism

  • conrad

    I’m surprised Europeans are travelling to Thailand — you can get things like dentistry extremely cheaply in some places closer to home for them.

    Incidentally, the really big market apart from the US is the mainland China one. These guys don’t trust their own hospitals, so come to HK to get stuff done. The main problem to start it all here would be to get the infrastructure together for Chinese only speakers together. Given the number of Chinese students studying medicine in Aus, I imagine that shouldn’t be too hard for some of the more enthusiastic ones (although at a guess, most speak Cantonese, not Mandarin, but thats sure to change) as theirs piles of money to be made.

  • Spiros

    The Thais have obviously figured out that there are some real synergies to be had in offering different kinds of services to tourists, especially male tourists.

    First, you attract them to Thailand to purchase prostitution services.

    Next, after they have caught some horrible sexually transmitted disease, you attract them back by offering health services to cure the disease.

    Finally, if the disease turns out to be fatal, you get them for some faux-spritual funeral, replete with faux Buddhist monks and faux elephants.


  • jc

    good post, harry.

    Medical tourism is going to be a huge thing in the future and it will be a way of keeping costs down in the first world countries.

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