Today, more and more people are travelling abroad for medical treatment, yet surprisingly little is known about this unique group of tourists.
This week, world experts on medical tourism are gathering at a landmark event to set the agenda for research on this growing global industry. Travelling from around the world for the Transnational Health Care conference, these experts will discuss findings from important international studies that present the key players in medical tourism, what drives tourists abroad, the itineraries tourists take, the places they go, the medical treatments they seek out, the management and promotion of the emerging industry, and the impacts of medical tourism on both sending and receiving countries.
Co-sponsored by the Cultural Geography Chair Group at Wageningen University (The Netherlands), the Academy for Tourism at NHTV Breda University of Applied Social Sciences (The Netherlands), the University of Leeds (UK) and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the conference will explore the links between medical tourism and the increasing privatization and commercialization of health in tourists’ home countries and their destinations, the transfer of responsibility for health from the state to individuals, and the limits to the ‘healthy investments’ people can make to their bodies. What does it mean when home health systems get circumvented? Does medical tourism only impose challenges for health systems – such as additional costs and aggravated healthcare inequities – or can it also create opportunities for (sustainable) development within and between countries?