Over the past decade, Asia has been the preferred destination for many people seeking less expensive but high quality medical treatments. The increase is partially due to high medical costs in western countries like the United States and United Kingdom. Specialized treatments, surgeries and therapies are being offered in Asia at a fraction of the cost, yet with bigger perks when it comes to hospitality and patient comfort. The hospitality industry has recognized this growing trend and is beginning to target travelers looking to have their treatments performed overseas. Agoda.com, an online hotel booking service, confirmed the bourgeoning nature of this type of tourism and the positive effect it has on the hotel industry.
A study by Deloitte Consulting in 2008 notes that medical tourists to Asia are estimated to reach 10 million by 2012. Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia are favorites among medical tourists mainly because of the significantly cheaper health care which can cost as little as 10 percent of comparable care in the US, but still provide quality treatment(s) by medical experts who have been trained in the US, UK and other western countries. Most medical tourists confirmed that the medical and travel expense combined are still much cheaper than costs incurred paying for treatments alone in their home countries.
A favorable exchange rate of the US Dollar to the Thai Baht makes medical procedures an incredible value to foreign visitors. Cheaper medical costs mean more money is available for family members and friends to accompany the patients. It’s those family and friends that seek accommodation near the hospitals so they can visit the patients yet at the same time have a comfortable stay affording them access to the rest of the city's attractions. It seems obvious medical tourism has tertiary advantages to other travel-related industries.