A report from the World Travel and Tourism Council has revealed a 358% increase in medical tourism around the globe.
The research found international spending on medical tourism products and services increased from $2.4 billion to $11 billion between 2000 and 2017.
This means medical travel spending was 1.2% of international visitor spending in 2017, compared to 0.6% in 2000.
The US had the largest medical tourism spending both inbound and outbound, and Turkey, Thailand, Jordan, Costa Rica and Mexico were all highlighted as leading emerging markets.
“As we can see from our latest research, medical tourism is an important and emerging area of interest for the travel and tourism sector,” Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of the WTTC, said.
“It is important that we continue to understand the reasons why people travel, and work to support policies that enhance the ability for travellers to seek treatment abroad.”
In light of the findings, WTTC has made recommendations to governments which include regulation of medical practitioners and creating financial incentives to attract investment.